United Printing and Publishing (UPP) which boasts a wide range of printing equipment from prepress to postpress is one of the biggest printing companies in the Middle East. UPP formerly known as Emirates Media Incorporation (which was established in early 70’s as part of the Abu Dhabi Media Company) is an ISO certified company with an ambitious agenda. The company is a major newspaper and commercial printer. However, during past years the company made big investment in security printing equipment and solutions. Their premises in Al Shahamah, built in 2006, is very convenient as far as the distribution of newspaper is concerned. It’s strategically located between Dubai and Abu Dhabi.
The UPP’s card production facility, which kicked off in 2013 now is a profitable part of the company, boasting state of the art equipment and with the capacity to produce 200,000 finished personalized cards an hour.
UPP has an impressive lineup of webfed and sheetfed presses including a range of Komori, KBA, Heidelberg and Manroland sheetfed as well as Rotoman 65, KBA Compacta 215 commercial web and KBA Continent, Orient Super and Manugraph Hiline newspaper web offset presses. For finishing and post press operation an arsenal of top of the line diecutting, thermal and cold lamination, perfect binding and inserting equipment and hard case cover line for book productions from major manufacturers such as Kama, Heidelberg, Horizon, Kolbus, MBO and Muller Martini make UPP a one stop shop for a wide range of printing enquiries. The company also boasts a Kodak NexPress 3500SW and HP Digital wide format printers.
Like so many other businesses UPP also had to deal with the challenges of Covid 19. To find out more about the current state of the company and its future plan ME Printer talked to Sunil Pandita, UPP’s production manager. Here are the excerpts:
What measures have you taken in order to protect your employees while still managing day to day activities of the print house?
Right from the initial days of Pandemic originated from Wuhan, UPP kept close watch on the spread and took necessary precautions like compulsory face mask at work place, social distancing, factory sterilization, travel restriction. This all started during early March 2020. This helped us to create awareness in our staff and eventually resulted in running our factory without any stoppage till date.
In which way does the Corona virus affect your business?
Covid did impact the overall business and UPP also faced drop in revenue. This mainly happened in certain sector of business mainly commercial printing.
Last time I spoke with Mr. Nouaimi (CEO of UPP) he said UPP is planning to invest more in packaging printing equipment, have you installed packaging printing production equipment recently?
Not yet, there has been discussion around this project of late.
Newspaper industry was already struggling before Covid 19, as the biggest newspaper publisher in UAE, how do you see the newspaper industry evolving in the UAE?
Yes, Newspaper printing have been on the edge for last decade or so and Covid has further pushed it back. Newspaper might remain here for some more years, but the focus is definitely on the digitization of the dailies and publishers do need to work fast on the same to remain in the race.
Do you believe the Corona pandemic which appears to be with us for some time will change the media landscape in Dubai?
Media over the years have seen a drastic changes and will continue to evolve. Covid pandemic has opened up opportunities for media industry globally.
Back in 2013 your security printing operation was about to kick off, now after 7 years how has this part of business evolved, has it become a profitable enterprise for you?
Yes, Security printing has evolved over the years and we see a huge potential in this business in future.
What is your card production capacity and what kind of smart cards you are producing?
We do commercial, financial, Retail, ID cards etc. Our capacity is to produce approximately 200,000 finished personalized cards an hour.
Have you reduced your work force because of pandemic?
No, Covid 19 haven’t had any impact on our work force.
What is UPP’s plan for future investment? Which area of printing do you believe has more potential for investment?
There are discussions happening on various fronts: digitization and packaging do have potential for future.