When people look for paint to spruce up their homes for the Christmas season, for redecorating or to complete a project, they look for specific things – mostly they want long-lasting colours that are vibrant and bring their homes, projects and cars to life.
In the Caribbean, that means that paint would have to withstand heat, rain, mould and other factors that would cause it to fade, while providing rich colours that appeal to the tastes of the people of the region.
Because of this combination of factors, saying all brands are the same would be painting with a broad brush.
This is why for close to 70 years, ANSA Coatings has been perfecting its products to give people in TT and the region the best-quality paints at affordable prices.
In a recent benchmarking procedure, done at ANSA Coatings’ request, by globally recognised paint and coatings experts based in the United Kingdom, the Paint Research Association, the company found not only did it get top marks in several areas, but in eight out of the ten benchmarks, local coatings companies were at the top of the charts.
Topping the charts
“We didn’t just wake up one morning and decided to start making paint,” said a passionate Nicholas MacLean, ANSA Coatings general manager, in a conversation with Business Day at its factory on the ANSA McAl Industrial Park on Tumpuna Road, South Guanapo. “All the results that came into play were a result of years and years of experience – modifying products, tweaking formulas to produce the best product for the region.”
“We make these products for our environment and our people,” added sector marketing manager Christianne De Pass. “We and our competitors in the region are constantly working towards making the best product we can.”
Business Day was told ANSA submitted 81 samples of paints from local and international brands that are sold in TT and the region. A total of 20 samples were from ANSA brands and 61 from other companies. The samples were assessed on factors such as weatherability (the ability to withstand weather conditions while maintaining quality of colour) and opacity (how the paint spreads).
ANSA Coatings’ Berger line, which includes the Berger Weather Proof, Royale and Everglow, was ranked number one in seven of the ten categories, including weatherability, opacity, resistance to fungus and algae, adhesion to substrate, resistance to stains and washability.
ANSA Coatings officials revealed that brands such as Penta also scored high marks compared to other brands in weatherability, getting a rating of “excellent” while Berger and Sissons brands got top ranking in exterior paints.
De Pass said it was no surprise the regional brands topped the charts in quality.
“This (benchmarking) is proof of what we know to be true,” De Pass said.
By the region, for the region
ANSA Coatings boasts of being the most diversified manufacturer and supplier of paints and coatings in the region. Founded through the integration of Penta Paints Caribbean Ltd and Sissons Paints (Trinidad) Ltd in 2012, ANSA Coatings manufactures and distributes paints and coatings for decoration, architecture, wood finishes, automotive, light and heavy industry and paints for maritime use.
ANSA Coatings, aside from locally based brands such as Penta, Sissons Berger and NEXA Autocolour, also manufactures internationally based paint lines from Glidden, Devoe and International.
As a subsidiary of the ANSA McAl Group of Companies, ANSA Colours entered paint markets in several countries in the region such as Belize, Guyana, Suriname, Barbados, Jamaica, St Lucia, Antigua, Grenada, St Kitts, Dominica, St Bartholomew and St Vincent.
While most of their inputs are imported, all of their workers are local to the countries they operate in.
Supply chain manager Jon Jhingoorie said the company gets its raw materials mostly from the US and Europe. He said it maintains its supply of raw materials from these areas to ensure consistency and high quality.
“Our mission is to achieve excellence in products, to have top-tier products,” he said.
To make the paints, ANSA Coatings mixes dry materials together which would include titanium oxide, then adds the wet ingredients and additives. After that, pigments are added for colour.
“It’s just like making a cake, except we don’t bake it,” he said.
De Pass said weatherability and resistance to fungus are two important qualities for producing the best products specifically for this region, with its tropical climate. She added that internationally based paints would not have the same chemistry as local and regional paints, which would make them vulnerable to mould and fading.
“Paint gets broken down by sunlight and it also gets attacked by fungus and algae in wet or moist conditions,” she said. “In the Caribbean, we face those constantly. We have blazing hot sun, or rain, or both.
"Customers don’t want their paint to fade and they don’t want it to develop mould and fungus, and that is what we focus on in the development of our chemistry. We have biocides in our paint that would help it to fight off mould and fungus.
"Paints that are developed in North America do not have these additives, because it is not important to them. That is something unique to our climate.”
UV rays and heat also affect automotive paints as well. Maclean said coatings that protect the paint jobs of cars against harsh weather conditions are absolutely necessary in the region, and ANSA Coatings has products specifically designed to shield against local climate conditions, with the highest rating of clear coats for cars in TT.
“Our clear coats have a certain thickness that would protect against the harsh weather conditions. People will bring down coatings to compete against us with a price that would be competitive with the market.
"But what we always find is the customers come back because of the fact that some of these brands do not have the (same) level of UV protection as ours. So if you are looking at saving a few dollars, versus doing the right thing for your car, you can end up in problems,”
De Pass added there was a difference in the colours between international brands and local brands as well. She said while international brands’ colour options would have a lot of beige and grey, regional customers prefer blues, greens and in some areas pink paints.
“Caribbean people love colour,” she said. “So it is not what you would see on the international market.”
She said ANSA Coatings has over 2,000 standard colours and can mix and match through its state-of-the-art tinting process, Novatint.
Better products for a better world
Having survived covid19, maintaining 100 per cent of its staff, and being able to pivot through supply-chain issues arising from the Russia/Ukraine war, ANSA Coatings joins with the rest of the group in its overall goal of making better business decisions to become a force for good.
MacLean said one of the plans coming out of the company’s five-year strategy is to take the Caribbean brand of paints to the world.
“We have big plans for market expansion and export outside of TT. The good quality that our team always talks about we (plan on) really getting our local and Caribbean brands to stand on the world stage and compete on that level,” he said.
In the region, ANSA Colours intends to expand its reach to deepen its positions in markets where it already operates and establish itself in others.
Although ANSA McAl has been in Guyana for over 30 years, ANSA Colours mostly distributes its paints through its partners in that region.
MacLean said ANSA Colours will now go deeper than just distribution.
“One of the things that we did this year is, we opened up the Abel Building Solutions (ABS) Guyana. It would be our premier distributor for our products in Guyana,” he said.
In other parts of the region, such as Grenada, it has doubled its exports and moved its production lines from Barbados to Grenada, which, De Pass said, gave it significant advantages in exporting to OECS countries.
Locally, ANSA Colours plans to roll out new colours in time for the Christmas season.
“We always look at the colour palate and we spice it up to meet the trends in the market,” MacLean said.
The company also intends to market new innovations and paint solutions such as its Grip and Seal primers, which scored top marks in the benchmarking exercise for adherence to surfaces.
“Our Grip and Seal primers are really making an impact on the market,” Maclean said. “This is a primer that you could put on a painted surface–you don’t need to sand down the surface and you would get superb adhesion.”
People can also save time and pitch oil with other new innovations such as Berger Royale Gloss and Sissons Aqua gloss enamel – two water-based enamel gloss paints for wrought-iron surfaces and exterior painting.
“This is a game-changer," said an excited Jhingoorie. “You can wash your brush with water, and it dries just as shiny and maintains the gloss. It is better than oil paint because it doesn’t get yellow over time.”
Regional sales manager Marcus McLeod said customers should visit ANSA Coating’s colour shops, of which there are five in Trinidad and one in Tobago, as well as the 22 other franchises which specialise in ANSA Coatings brands.
“For Christmas we have massive savings and specials. In our colour shops you can get up to 25 per cent off your products or BOGO deals such as 'Buy three, get one free' or 'Buy five, get one free' sort of specials,” he said.