The company's history starts 23 years ago with a single coolers plant in Kato, Greece. In the years that followed the company grew and expanded internationally and in 1996 the Frigoglass Group was officially established.
Since 1996 the company has continued implementing a longterm expansion and diversification program, acquiring and establishing plants throughout the world.
The main activities of Frigoglass are the manufacturing of Commercial Refrigeration units and Packing Materials with 39 companies spread across all continents except America.
The Commercial refrigeration division includes 11 cooler and freezer production in Europe, Asia and Africa and 4 sales offices
Packing is divided into three divisions:
The PET Division for the production of Pet resin, with a plant in Greece.
The Plastics Division for the production of plastic material, crowns and plastic closures, with plants in Bulgaria and Rumania.
The Nigeria Division, with 9 production facilities engaged in almost all of the above activities in addition to glass production, and grouped in a separate division to improve managerial efficiency.
Frigoglass Poland Sp. z o.o. (Norcool) successfully completed its new production layout, following a total investment of € 1.1 million, which resulted in 49% capacity increase! This development, along with our new management team led to agreements with major customers, such as Group Żywiec (Heineken) and CCHBC Poland, and further expansion in the Czech market, reversing last year's negative results and restoring profitability.
Objectives for 2003 include both expanding the company's customer base and consolidating relationships with existing clients. Currently, Frigoglass Poland is pursuing a contract with Group Żywiec (Heineken) for the production and supply of the S-7 model, as well exports of S-10s to a new market, a fast food chain in the Czech Republic.
Moreover, the company is preparing to aggressively enter the outdoor market with FV650 and FVS1200 models.
- Why and when Frigoglass Poland was established?
- Frigoglass Poland was established-says Thomas Demetris, General Manager-under the name of Norcool in 1993, as the Norcool sales office, and in 1995, as a production facility.
- Why Poland was selected as a Frigoglass place in Central Europe?
- Poland is ideally located in Central Europe. It is big as a single market, also it is a market providing highly qualified personnel and qualified manpower at comparatively low cost, when compared with western markets.
- Based on your experiences do you find any particularities of the Polish market?
- Worldwide market is more or less the same. What it differs is the level of development. Polish market went trough a period of rapid development in 1990's until the year 2000. Now, together with global economies, goes through difficult period, however it is still developing.
- What kind of products do you produce here?
- We are focusing on the cold merchandizing, we are providing solutions to the beverage industry for cooling their products. In other words we are producing only coolers for commercial companies.
- Do you produce only for Polish market, or Polish market is just a part of your strategy?
- We have approximately 40% of our sales going to exports all around Europe, including Central European countries-Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia, Serbia and Romania.
- Do you plan any extension of your current production capacities?
- The last two years the Polish factory has proven to be successful. I have to mention that sales last year have grown over 80% versus 2001 and further increase of 20% is expected for this year. We came to the point that our current facilities cannot accommodate further grows. It can meet this year's sales, but it can not satisfy further grows. Believing in principle saying that you are further growing or dying we are currently considering options how to develop further our production capacities in Poland.
- Are you going to stay in this location, near Warsaw, or you are looking for other places?
- Preferably we would like to remain where we are.
- Next year Poland becomes the full member of the UE. To which degree this new situation will change the position or strategy of Frigoglass Poland?
- I would say-not considerably, because we are currently selling our products to Western European countries. We are not facing import duties and taxes. What it would improve is the administration of our sales-means less borders, less documents, less controls and much easier and quicker response to the shipments of goods to various markets. Also it will add to what we see as a bigger benefit for the country, in general terms, and for us, as a company. It will force the Polish authorities to develop the needed infrastructure, such as transportation facilities, road systems, and also will reduce the bureaucracy.
- What kind of troubles or obstacles do you face, as a foreign investor, still in Poland?
- The quality of country's infrastructure-specifically speaking we face frequently interruption of power supply without prior warnings. This causes us not only lost production but also damages our equipment.
- But in term of low regulation, what would be your main request?
- We saw same changes in the Polish low regulating conditions of foreign companies. The problem is this process of introducing the new low is very slow. I'm sure that with the entry to the EU the deadlines that should be met would force the authorities to much more efficient work.
However, generally speaking, we are considering Poland as a country with a lot of potential and as soon as the global economy gets out of the current recession, we will definitively grow.