RMI Construction Company Secures Contract For India Project

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Pacific International Inc. joint venture worth $8 million

By Giff Johnson

MAJURO, Marshall Islands (Marianas Business Journal, May 7, 2012) – Pacific International Inc. has won a contract for building 1,216 apartments in India using its Waffle-Crete precast concrete system. This follows on the heels of the building of six warehouses with Waffle-Crete in Kenya.

Joseph "Jerry" Kramer, chief executive officer of PII, who left Majuro the week of May 21 for meetings in India to finalize details of the new project, said the company "is looking at other projects in India and East Africa."

PII is the largest construction company in the Marshall Islands, also has operations in Guam, and in recent years has won U.S.-funded construction contracts in Chuuk and Pohnpei in the Federated States of Micronesia. But the India award is PII's first big foray into the Asian construction market. Kramer said the contract, which was awarded in mid-May, is valued at about $8 million.

The India and Kenya projects are the result of a new marketing plan under the direction of Hays, Kan.-based Larry Lightman, general manager of Waffle-Crete. "In the past, we sold molds," Kramer said. "Now, we are joint venturing with companies and producing the concrete panels." PII owns the Waffle-Crete system brand that it has used in the Marshall Islands and elsewhere.

The new contract is in the Gandhinagar area of India in joint venture with an Indian company, Shlip Properties of Ahmadabad. The joint venture company, Waffle Rapid Construction, aims to complete the 1,216 apartments over a 12-month period from the date of mobilization. The apartments will be built in 16 three-story buildings. Kramer said he hopes to see work begin by late July, and molds for the apartments are already under production. Waffle-Crete uses precast concrete molds that allow for quick erection of buildings.

The project will produce low-cost housing for the "socially and economically weaker section of people," according to the bid award. Kramer described the apartments as basic two-bedroom, kitchen, living room and bathroom facilities with minimal finishing.

Kramer said the India bid award is actually the second that a PII joint venture won there, but the first was cancelled for a future re-bid because the government required three bidders and the PII joint venture was the only bidder.

As with PII's other construction projects in Chuuk, Pohnpei and Guam, the company plans to send some of its Marshall Islands construction workers to India. "It is our intention to send some experienced Marshallese technicians to India to transfer technology, teach and supervise casting and erection of this project," he said.

A recent article in a Kenya newspaper reported that a company there contracted with PII to use the Waffle-Crete precast technology to build six warehouses in an industrial business park for rent to third-party tenants. The firm is now looking at the possibility of building 80 to 100 apartment units on the outskirts of Nairobi using Waffle-Crete.

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