The Business Year

Juan J. Nuccio

PANAMA - Industry

Paint Hearted

Executive President, Pinturas AYA


Juan J. Nuccio is the Executive President of Pinturas AYA. He has an educational background in Electrical Engineering at the Universidad Rafael Urdaneta, and has served in several executive positions in the chemical industry, his first post being from 1990 to 1992, when he worked for Frantz Filters in Caracas. He has also been, since 2002, the President of the Venezuelan Association of Paint Manufacturers.

"The Canal needs to be maintained regularly, and we had a corporate agreement with the Panama Canal Authority since 2010."

What is the history of Pinturas AYA and what kind of services do you offer in Panama?

We have been in Panama since 1995; however, we only receive products from our main factory in Venezuela. We opened our first factory in Panama in 2007 and our second in 2012. We have two manufacturing plants here, but the main one still remains in Venezuela and we will soon be opening one in Houston in the US.

What has been your growth strategy in Panama?

Around 70% of the market for the paint industry goes to construction, and the other 30% goes to industry, subspace, and marine coating, which is the area of the market where we work. In the beginning, we shipped products from South America to Central America; however, when our market grew enough we established a manufacturing facility. We assumed manufacturing in four different segments. The first area is heavy industry and marine coating, which is for the petroleum industry. The second area is high-performance and construction coating, which is dedicated to protecting steel located in different areas. The third one is for car finishes and aerospace. The sector for high-performance paints is better in Central America than South America as more things are made from steel, which is our fourth segment. Finally, there is a small market in Central America for wood coatings.

Which is the product that you provide the most?

The product we provide the most is heavy industrial and marine paint. We also have equipment for the Panama Canal. The Canal needs to be maintained regularly, and we had a corporate agreement with the Panama Canal Authority since 2010 to provide all the paint it needs to protect and maintain its facilities. We are the sole provider for the Canal and all the paint it uses comes from our factory, which is one of the main reasons we have the facility here. We have an agreement also with the Universidad de Panama in order to source human talent. We use the graduates to teach our employees, because this company is made up of at least 90% Panamanians.

“The Canal needs to be maintained regularly, and we had a corporate agreement with the Panama Canal Authority since 2010.”

How important is innovation for this company?

It means everything for us. We have research labs. Technology changes, and there are different environmental regulations that we need stay ahead of. People don’t want to waste energy or time on cleaning a surface; therefore, we need to offer easy and efficient solutions for our clients. We have built a solid relationship with local manufacturers in order to open a new branch and develop products. They help us in our labs to create new products.

Which country represents the biggest income for the company?

The biggest revenue sources for us in Latin America are Brazil, Argentina, and then a tie between Venezuela and Colombia. For us, our main market is Venezuela. Many companies have been leaving the country; hence, there are fewer suppliers and a lot of market to cover. Regarding Panama, it has been steadily growing and is a very globalized country. Different countries have an impact on it, and you can take raw materials from anywhere easily. Panama is a country in which you can trust. Panama will grow very much over the medium term.

What are your expectations for 2014?

We expanded in 2012 with a new manufacturing facility in Panama. So, we need to wait for at least five years, which is the time it takes to train our people. We are an ISO 9002 certified company, and we also have SSBC certification. People need to be involved with the company and that takes time. After five years, we hope to go into Bolivia and Ecuador because of the petroleum industry. Brazil has a very closed border and there are heavy duties on imports. You need to invest in Brazil, otherwise you can’t get in, meaning it is not worth it at the moment for us to work there. Argentina is very unstable, and its situation changes every five years. Chile is a very long country, meaning you need to open four different offices in order to serve the market.

What will be the impact of the expansion of the Panama Canal for Pinturas AYA?

It is very important. The Panama Canal mainly serves the transportation of the US from East to West. The largest ship that comes through is the size of the Titanic. At the time the Canal was built that was the largest size of ship around. The problem now is that the largest ships are not able to pass. The expansion will mean that newer ships will be able to pass through the Panama Canal now, and those ships will stop in Panama to receive supplies. The seaports in New Orleans and San Diego have been increasing their capacity, and so has Panama and Manzanillo. A new port is being also built in El Diablo. Significant shipping volumes will pass through Panama, and that means that it is good for the local economy and therefore good for us. Ships mean paint for us. The actual expansion of the Canal is not that important for our business, instead it is what passes through it.

© The Business Year – April 2014



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