The total investments Holcim has made until now in Romania via acquisitions, modernization, environmental measures and business expansion have exceeded EUR 200 million. In 2002 the company has invested some EUR 30 million, while in 2003 the amount of investment will reach EUR 40 to 50 million, depending on how fast the new projects will be implemented and on the overall state of the local economy. Holcim plans to invest in Romania more than EUR 80 million in the next four to five years, funds that will be used for upgrading production facilities, environmental protection, business expansion as well as services and human resources.
Holcim is one of the worldwide leading suppliers of cement, ready-mixed concrete (RMC) and aggregates (gravel and sand), as well as construction related services. The Switzerland-based group has grown into a global player with a strong market presence in over 70 countries on all five continents, operating over 700 concrete plants and having almost 50,000 employees. Holcim was among the first companies of its industry investing in Eastern Europe after 1989.
Holcim came to Romania in 1997 by taking over the Turda (Cluj County) cement plant. In the following years the company also bought the cement plants in Campulung (Arges County) and Alesd (Bihor County). In addition, Holcim operates as well 11 RMC plants: three in Bucharest (Pipera, Bujoreni, Progresul), one in Brasov, one in Curtea de Arges and one in Satu Mare, plus 5 EFCP plants , and three sand & gravel pits: two in Arges County (Rancaciov, Zarnesti) and one in Brasov.
Holcim introduced on the Romanian market the new concept of " Environmentally Friendly Concrete Plant" (EFCP). The first EFCP, located in Pitesti, was commissioned by the end of 2001. Four more EFCPs started in June 2002 in Cluj and Craiova, in October in Ploiesti and in December in Oradea. This year, Holcim will open another three EFCPs, the first in Arad, under a EUR 1.5 million investment. In comparison with the traditional concrete plants in Romania, these plants represent a novelty: the state-of-the-art production technology (brought from Spain, Italy and Switzerland) reduces the dust emissions, eliminates noise and allows recycling of fresh concrete. The company has 2,000 employees in Romania.
In June 2001, Holcim introduced its new brand in Romania and in December it merged all the Romanian operations under one company. At the moment, the Romanian subsidiary is in a continuously increasing trend, based on its clear image, the investment policy and the developing and expanding activities. In 2002, Holcim received an Excellency Award and a Certificate of Appreciation for its presence at Expo Construct in Bucharest and in Brasov. Constanta, Cluj Napoca and Timisoara are other towns in which Holcim participated at specialized fairs and exhibitions, imposing as the most attractive presence.
Holcim (Romania) has launched this year a national premiere in construction customer service field: the mini-guide "How to build your house with Holcim", addressed especially to those persons who want to build their house by themselves, but also targeted to cement dealers and distributors. The mini-guide had a great public success especially at the events the company was present, but also at the warehouses Holcim sells its products. This document can be downloaded for free by clicking here. The presence on the Internet of an international cement company is also a premiere for the Romanian cement market, Holcim being the first company in the industry that presents a very interactive, user-friendly and permanently updated digital "business card".
In 2001, Holcim (Romania) sold 1.2 million tones of cement and had a turnover of EUR 65 million, while the turnover for 2002 was about EUR 85 million, some 30 percent higher. Up to date, 2002 has been the best year in terms of financial and operational performance. Holcim's market share at the moment is 32 percent, with a four percent increase as compared to 2001. "For us it's not so important whether we have now one percent more or one percent less than our competitors, but it's crucial to be perceived as the most respected and attractive company in our industry. We can only achieve this by keeping our promises, by delivering good services, by being an attractive employer for your employees, and by being a good communicator with all our stakeholders. This is definitely a result that is measured not only in pure figures, but also by the feedback of everybody who has relationships with our company", said Kurt Habersatter, President and CEO of Holcim (Romania).
The total investments Holcim has made until now in Romania via acquisitions, modernization, environmental measures and business expansion have exceeded EUR 200 million. In 2002, the company has invested some EUR 30 million, while the amount of investment will reach EUR 40 to 50 million in 2003, depending on how fast the new projects will be implemented and on the overall state of the local economy. Holcim plans to invest in Romania more than EUR 80 million in the next four to five years, funds that will be used for upgrading production facilities, environmental protection, business expansion as well as services and human resources. The biggest investment of 2003 concerns the Alesd plant, where there will be put into service a completely refurbished and modernized clinker and cement production line. "We are confident that this will be the most modern cement production line in Romania", added Habersatter. Holcim also plans to modernize and ensure the requested ecological standards to the already existing RMC plants in Romania: the ones in Bucharest and Brasov. Other investments for 2003 include an upgrade of the dispatch center in Campulung and a modern coal-grinding facility.
Apart from the investments made within the industry, Holcim is well known for the continuous personnel training programs, which represent a top present and future objective of the company. "It's in our interest to have highly skilled people, so we have to train our employees, to select the right tailor-made programs that suit their needs", said Habersatter. Training programs are developed locally and also internationally, within the Holcim group.
Holcim is also investing in social programs adapted to the local contexts of the towns where the company operates and developed in the benefit of the local communities. In Alesd Holcim has invested more than EUR 120,000 into renovating a kindergarten, in order to create a nice and stimulating environment for 115 children. Pupils of the "Mihai Viteazul" National College in Turda now benefit from an IT center, equipped with the latest technologies. High school students in Campulung took part in an environmental projects contest with important prizes supported by Holcim. All these initiatives prove once more that for Holcim social responsibility is not only a principle, but also a reality.
Apart from its complex program dedicated to encouraging performance among the youth, the company has also supported people in need. Now 60,000 people living in Alesd and neighboring areas benefit from medical assistance equipment donated by the company to the local hospital. After the terrible storm that hit Facaieni, a truck of cement was immediately sent to rebuild the houses that had been destroyed by the flood. "Our philosophy is to act as a good citizen. The 'we care' philosophy governs all our social corporate responsibility programs", said Habersatter.
"We have made a very big step in 2002 and we are very positive and optimistic about the future developments. We have received a very good feedback from our recent surveys, signs of trust and recognition from our clients and business partners, which make us believe we are on the right track", concluded Habersatter.