Since he was 7 years old, Mohamed Al Jabery has been involved in his father’s business of manufacturing water heaters.
“I started with basic tasks like iron dust cleaning, and gradually grew into specialised roles in production management, finance and marketing, until I was finally promoted to general management of the business in 2001,” says 41-year-old Mohamed.
Mohamed’s in-depth experience of all aspects of the business has made him set greater store by his father’s legacy and has earned him the coveted title of “Master” among the industrialists in Basra as well as won him several awards and recognitions as a leading pillar of the manufacturing community.
Founded in 1970 by Mohamed’s father to produce gas water heaters, over four decades, Al Jabery has become a household name associated with water heaters in Iraq. In 1976, the business was the first to introduce electric water heaters. Moreover, these are designed to work on both stable and sporadic electricity, a vital requirement for the Basra market where power cuts remain an issue.
As a mature, household name that supports local manufacturing and job creation, Al Jabery is a company that commands great respect in the community. And, over the years, the business has stayed relevant by bringing to market several innovations that have kept it at the forefront of consumer preference, including the introduction of solar water heaters in 2012.
However, given the seasonal nature of the product, with winter (Sep-Mar) being peak season, the business growth was constrained due to excessive reliance on internal cash flows generated in winter to fund the operating cycle. Accordingly, Mohamed felt the need for working capital finance to fund the operating cycle during the low season.
GroFin partnered with Mohamed, providing funding that is expected to stabilise the production of electric water heaters and free the business to deepen its foray into innovative and environment-friendly products such as solar water heaters. Besides, GroFin also provided much needed business support to bring a professional edge to the company.
“We helped with preparation of monthly management accounts and connected the entrepreneur with Shell Iraq to register as a potential vendor,” says Hayder Adnan, Investment Manager, GroFin Iraq.
The business will sustain 10 existing jobs, and create as many more, mostly for semi-skilled workers, who will be trained on the prized skill of welding to improve their employability and allow them to earn a better livelihood than they could have otherwise dreamed of.