Zagreb Company Delt Papir Wants to Cover Croatian Demand for Masks

Lauren Simmonds

Since Croatia made it mandatory to wear masks when using public transport, masks of all kinds have once again become a much sought-after commodity. One Zagreb company, Delt Papir, wants to be the one to cover all of Croatia’s mask related needs.

As Darko Bicak/Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 26th of June, 2020, assessing the situation on the market in the midst of the coronavirus crisis, the management board of Delt Papir invested 1.5 million kuna in a new plant for the production of certified three-layer surgical masks.

The coronavirus pandemic seems to have entered its second phase, and after a short period of stagnation, Croatia is again approaching higher and higher numbers of people testing positive for the new coronavirus. Over recent days, some epidemiological measures in Croatia have been tightened, and one of the key obligations is, as stated, to wear protective masks on public transport.

Therefore, questions about whether there will be a repetition of the scenario of mask shortages and a jump in their price yet again have come to the forefront.

However, it should be noted that in this “wave”, the domestic industry has become a little bit more prepared because more and more Croatian companies have included the production of protective masks in their respective ranges. One of them is Zagreb’s Delt Papir, which, as they themselves point out, is the first Croatian company which boasts completely local production of paper products for hygienic use.

As mentioned above, Delt Papir has already invested 1.5 million kuna in a new plant for the production of certified three-layer surgical masks. The investment was completed over recent days, and was realised in just two months.

As the director Alen Krajacic, who performs this function with Kruno Kisak, explains, the decision to produce surgical masks came from the need to protect their own employees, because there were simply not enough masks on the market to buy. Now their plan is to provide sufficient masks for domestic use.

Their production capacity is 25,000 masks per shift, and the number of shifts will, he says, depend on market demands.

Aware of the fact that local production is currently the mainstay of the crisis-shaken economy and that their production activities create a significant share of market recovery, with this project, as well as all previous investments, Delt Papir wants to make a strong contribution to the Croatian economy.

When planning a new production facility, we primarily wanted to ensure a calmer preparation of the domestic market for a possible second wave of the coronavirus pandemic. Surgical masks are a very useful product without which at this moment we can practically not work in a team, use public transport, or make a purchase.

”Due to their special structure and filtering characteristics, surgical masks have proven effective in preventing the spread of droplets that occur during speech and breathing, and in everyday life, conversation is what forms the basis of work and life,” explains Delt Papir’s Alen Krajacic.

In addition to everyday life, we’ve witnessed a global crisis and a shortage of protective equipment which is necessary for the operation of medical institutions. Delt Papir says they want to make it easier for Croatian healthcare institutions to do their jobs without needing to wait a long time for shipments of masks coming in from abroad.

Although the situation with the procurement of protective equipment in Croatia has stabilised, the owners of Delt Papir emphasise the importance of domestic production, which in the coming period could be of great importance for the uninterrupted stability in the supply of protective equipment.

”Our hospitals and other healthcare institutions must, at all times, be able to supply their employees with protective equipment, especially protective surgical masks that are changed several times during shifts and are indispensable in working with patients.

Clearly, we hope and eagerly expect an adequate medical solution to end the battle with this virus, but time is relentless and we don’t want to simply leave things to chance. Good production planning will certainly make a big difference if a new wave of coronavirus does occur,” adds Kruno Kisak.

Delt Papir emphasises that the private sector is sure to face a battle with the ongoing and uncertain market turmoil, but companies engaged in the production of products which are of significant importance in line with the emerging economic needs should certainly continue to be supported because many jobs and people’s health depend on them.

Delt Papir generated impressive revenues of 129 million kuna last year, which marked growth of 14 percent. They employ about 100 workers and process about 12,000 tonnes of paper a year. They ended last year with 50 percent of their earnings coming from exports, and in the first two months of this year, until the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, their exports rose to 65 percent. Masks are produced both for export and for the domestic market, so they have prepared box packaging in both Croatian and English.

“Export orders are constantly arriving, especially due to the fact that the masks are certified, and like paper clothing, we export them from the EU all the way to the Middle East. The production itself takes place through the parent company Delt Papir, and the distribution company Hygiene 4 You is in charge of distribution,” explain Krajacic and Kisak.

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