1. As Romania is heading towards a 4% growth in 2016, how do you see your prospects for growth in 2016 and 2017?
I think that Romania’s economy can reach easily a 4% growth rate target this year and also next year. This is thanks to the decisions related to taxes and the increase of the minimum salary taken by the Government, which are helping to increase domestic consumption. Moreover, similar supportive decisions must be considered to increase export and new investments for more production capacity. Such decisions are most important and healthier for the long term benefits on Romania’s economy.
2. What makes Kastamonu Romania a leading company in your industry?
Kastamonu Romania’s position as a leading company in the industry comes as a result of our practice and policies. We are customer-oriented, flexible and fast adapting to the market’s request. It is one of our purposes, as a company, to offer high quality products at affordable prices.
We dedicate our time and experience to follow constantly the trends in the industry and continuously enlarge our product portfolio.
3. What were the main markets for Kastamonu Romania in 2016 and 2017?
Our main markets, after domestic, are Hungary, Italy and Serbia, but our export area is much larger, reaching almost 50 countries. Because of increasing demand and limited production capacity, at the beginning of this year we took the strategic decision to leave some of the Balkan markets to our sister companies in Bulgaria and Turkey. It seems that there is a strong need to make additional new investments and we already started certain projects in this direction.
4. At regional level, we are witnessing some turbulences (especially in terms of politics). Does this context have any impact on your company? If so, how does Kastamonu Romania manage to lead through turbulences? Please detail.
Indeed, as a resident of this region, we are exposed to such turbulences. However, we would rather not take part in these for mainly two reasons: one, we are a part of a global enterprise; and two, we are politically impartial in any community in which we are operating. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon to witness political struggles that curb public good and entrepreneurial environment within the region. The parties within these discussions sometimes are so indifferent to the damages they cause, they leave me, as a foreign professional, astonished. We are not immune to these impacts, but our main anchor in handling these situations is following strictly the legislation. We cooperate with internationally recognised counsellors, consultants and jurists, who have good experience and expertise on local and European legislation. Besides that, we employ many modern tools to inform our employees, the community and the authorities.
Our past experience has shown us that in a crisis situation, such as the war in Ukraine, even if this market was targeted to be one of the most important export markets at the beginning of the investment in particle board plant, we managed, in a timely manner, to open new markets and disregard completely the Ukrainian market until the situation comes back to normal.
5. How do you see the prospects for growth in terms of exports and the internal market? Which segment will be more dynamic in 2017 and why?
We are confident that both segments, the export and the domestic market, will increase in 2017. As for our company, we believe that the export segment will be more dynamic, as it is the area we are focusing on; it is one of our aims for next year to grow on certain export markets.
6. What does Kastamonu Romania represent for the local industry (Mures County) in terms of exports, investments and jobs?
Kastamonu Romania is one of largest investments in Mures County. Being in the top 5 industrial companies in the county with more than EUR 250 million investment amount, the company is the largest employer in Reghin city, the second largest city in Mures County, after Targu Mures.
Kastamonu Romania employs 15% of all workforce in town and provides a living for more than 8,000 people directly or indirectly, not only in Mures, but also in the neighbouring counties, as well.
Our company is number 50 in top exporters list of Romania. Export amounts to 65% of the turnover generated. The company generated EUR 85 million worth of exports in 2015, being the largest exporter of Mures County.
7. What are the factors that will convince you to invest more in 2017 and beyond? How much is the total investment made by Kastamonu Group in Romania?
The increasing demand coming from our current markets and the need for value-added products are the main factors which lead us to take new investment decisions. The total value of investments we have made up to now is approximately EUR 250 million.
8. What are your biggest fears regarding your market in 2017? What is the main opportunity that makes you confident in growth?
I could state as an important factor the political situation worldwide; stability will play a substantial role in our sector as indirect competitive advantages could be obtained by countries in the area. A clear example are the countries which now have a significant benefit due to the currency exchange rate.
We are trustful that 2017 will bring business growth and development, and to support this we have a team of well-trained professionals, market knowledge and a deep understanding of what our customers’ needs and expectations are.