Sibenik Factory Succeeds in Placement of Products on US Market

Lauren Simmonds

Copyright Romulic and Stojcic
Sibenik, Croatia
Sibenik, Croatia

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Suzana Varosanec writes on the 25th of November, 2020, with full production being successful in the fourth quarter of 2020 in its own factories in three locations – in Slovenska Bistrica, its Sibenik factory and the one in Seval in Serbia, the Slovenian aluminium company Impol Group is looking forward to 2021 with moderate optimism.

As has since been found out, euros of total annual revenue thanks to new orders as the market is clearly waking up. This means the Sibenik factory, along with others in other locations will hold firm with the same business framework with a characteristic fundamental determinant according to which the EU will remain their primary market.

At the same time, however, the above was supplemented by a plan to maintain a share of exports achieved by a breakthrough in the new major world market where, under the latter in difficult economic circumstances due to the coronavirus crisis, they succeeded in an almost impossible mission. The company ensured the successful placement of their products on the highly demanding and competitive US market, where a fifth of their aluminium production from right here in Croatia is currently ending up, from the established four shifts being worked by their Sibenik factory. This is also the reason why that same Sibenik factory, in anticipation of the forthcoming investments of the owners, is working at full capacity.

Increased demand in Croatia

Despite interventions in the US customs policy towards aluminium products originating from certain parts of the world through sanctions, which caused issues for as many as 18 countries, including some exporting member states of the European Union, with European countermeasures put up in response, an economic war struck the world of metals – yet it didn’t hit Croatia.

Croatia, with a customs duty of slightly more than 3 percent placed on products placed across the pond, which is similar to the policy of Slovenia, did well in this respect. Five hundred employees of Impol – TLM in the Sibenik factory can link a good part of the company’s production activities to exports to no less than the US market.

Customers are large suppliers who buy to order for several important industries – predominantly for the needs of these products of the processing and packaging industry and for transport and trade.

Tomaz Smolar who is currently on Impol’s supervisory board emphasised a new set of circumstances in Croatia, and says that “the Croatian food packaging market has compensated very well in the face of all the obstacles of the coronavirus crisis and succeeded in investing in additional capacities as well as in increasing the total demand for aluminum foils in 2020,”

The Impol Group, which employs about 2,350 people – is the sixth company in neighbouring Slovenia in this category, and the sixth largest exporter from that country. It has been receiving new orders since back in September, when the market woke up.

“Our success is due to several factors, the key ones being the positive impact of subsidies in the EU that boosted production and allowed activities to continue, while another big motive is to re-establish business cooperation with America. In general, this year is expected to end with about 15 percent lower total revenue due to falling orders in the second and third quarters and the temporary closure of the US market due to dumping on some EU member states,” explained Smolar.

The strategy until 2025

The backbone of this company’s development strategy was presented with the aim that by 2025, their turnover will amount to an enormous one billion euros. To achieve this extremely high end goal, this would mean significantly faster growth than the average 3 percent growth per year. The company would instead use levers such as specific sub-goals like going from 250,000 tonnes to 400,000 tonnes per year and developing a new product programme to the point where part of the retailer’s customers are replaced by end customers.

Combined with the expansion of the entire scope of business, this would mean a higher degree of processing and completion, which brings a higher degree of added value and better product competitiveness to Impol, and as such to their Sibenik factory.

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