Huge export success for one Zabok-based company, from laser eye surgery to Bentleys.
As Darko Bicak/Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 26th of July, 2018, back in 1979, when Anica and the now unfortunately late Josip Pleško returned from Germany to Zabok and opened up a small metalworking company in which they were the only employees, they most likely never dreamed that their sons would continue to build on their small, humble business, eventually developing it into the third largest metal industry in Zagorje with a total of 80 CNC (Computer Numerical Control) machines, and more than 100 employees.
After 1990, the two brothers Davor and Vladimir Pleško split the business between them so that Davor could run the Josip Pleško Metal Processing and Trading Company, which specialises in large-scale metal product manufacturing, while his brother Vladimir specialises in the segment of products with higher added value.
Today, they are of the same size, with 40 CNC machines and 50 employees, and the brothers also cooperate through the joint company Pleško d.o.o. which facilitated their exports given the fact that during the 1990s, such companies (obrts) were not necessarily the subjects of international trade, and today they’ve become a brand on the western market too, something they don’t wish to see extinguished.
Vladimir Pleško has just completed a 19 million kuna investment in the expansion of production and the acquisition of new equipment for the OMP Metal Processing, and has invested around 50 million kuna in the company itself. The closure of the financial structure of this last investment was partially solved through the company’s own capital as well as bank loans, with the European Union also providing a massive 5.15 million kuna in non-refundable funds from the European Regional Development Fund.
“The company has existed under this name and under this form of ownership since 1990, and even back in 1992, we realised that without investing in modern CNC technology, we wouldn’t be able to go through the demanding Western market and, during the Homeland War, the first CNC machines were procured.
Just like my parents did with textiles back in the 1960s, unhappy with their material position here, they went off to Germany, where they both found themselves in metallurgy, and one year later, both our mum and dad became metalworkers, and after returning to Zabok, they founded a small obrt and worked on some demanding metal jobs for some companies that had such needs within the country. With the collapse of the Yugoslav market, we had to turn completely to exports, and with parents who spoke German and had contacts in Germany, we worked with partners on the market over there,” stated Vladimir Pleško.
Over the years, they have managed to build a brand and today almost 90 percent of their production goes off to the demanding markets of Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Slovenia, and when it comes to the Republic of Croatia, work is usually done with companies that incorporate their parts into commodities destined for the western market.
Their range consists of more than 6000 specialty profiles, most of which go to the petrochemical industry (parts for refineries and similar plants), food, medical and automotive industries. Their carriers are found on virtually any laser eye surgery device in the world, and, astonishingly, parts from this Zabok company are also incorporated into luxury Bentley cars. After a worryingly sharp drop in exports, as well as production itself during the crisis in 2008 and 2009, OMP’s exports are now growing at a rate of 10 percent a year. Pleško is satisfied with the cooperation with European Union funds, and is already planning a new project with their very welcome help.
EU funds have provided an enormous amount of often much needed help to a countless number of Croatian companies of all sizes, and their significance is highlighted by this Zabok success story.