One Old Zagreb Company to Expand Business into EU

Lauren Simmonds

At its peak back in 1990, the company had 250 employees and an annual turnover of more than 250 million kuna.

As Darko Bicak/Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 23rd of October, 2018, one Zagreb-based company, Furnir, is the oldest factory for the processing and selling of plate materials in Europe, and it now has its eyes set on expansion into the European Union.

Things began way back in 1928, and since then, the company has gone ”through the mill”, having experienced nationalisation in 1948, privatisation in 1990, bankruptcy in 2011, and then it had new life breathed into it back in 2015 when entrepreneur Željko Tokić bought the company at a public tender and restored its production.

“I’m an entrepreneur who knows how to recognise value, and the wood industry definitely has it. When I came here, I found eleven workers who were still loyal to the company even after going for more than a few months without getting any pay, they’re still working there now and there are now thirty more workers, in three years, the company has become profitable and its revenue raised from 3 to 20 million kuna, with growth,” Tokić told Poslovni Dnevnik.

He added that today’s Furnir wood furnishing centre is a much smaller system than it was back in 1990 when the company was the leader in its field in the wider regional area, with 250 workers annually earning the company more than 200 million kuna of revenue.

Today, the biggest player in the wood centre sector is J.U.A. Frischeis from Velika Gorica near Zagreb. Currently, Frischeis has around 120 workers and boasts over 200 million kuna in revenue. Tokić pointed out that this company, despite its strength, is of no competition because everyone has their own part and plays their own role in the market, which is always developing.

“I think the biggest problem of our economy is that entrepreneurs try to ”eat” each other without thinking that it’s likely that someone else will do it to them, too. What would I get now if I decided to open a branch office in Split with our strength? I’d definitely end up destroying one or two entrepreneurs there, and the question is whether or not this would have any satisfactory financial impact on us. I think it’s much better to cooperate and not to perceive other entrepreneurs as competition, but as complementary,” Tokić stated.

He also pointed out that their main customers are from the carpentry sector which deal with furnishings and kitchens per order. Moreover, he estimated that all the wood centres, this one included, will eventually turn into specialised carpentry companies with more capacity to deal with furniture by order. The growth potential is seen in the EU market, not necessarily by opening a branch in European cities, but in dealing with jobs directly from the company’s Zagreb’s address.

As their company is in the very centre of the city, their location gives them a comparative advantage for commercial activity, Tokić considers that, in terms of of production, the factory could be moved to another location outside of Zagreb. But he decidedly claimed that as far as his time in the company is concerned, this central Zagreb location certainly won’t stop with production. Tokić, who is himself a mechanical engineer, began his fruitful career in the world of shipbuilding, air conditioning and ventilation systems, and technical isolation systems.

He even participated in, as he spoke about himself, the construction of the formidable Petar Krešimir IV war ship, and yet most of the work involved in that was dealt with by partners over in Germany.

Back in 2001, he started the OKI Mont company, which was first involved in technical isolation systems, which would end up being specialised in the waterproofing and roofing works of large buildings due to the reduction of the activities of that particular industry in Croatia. The company has 40 people working there and continues to do business today. Tokić leads both companies in parallel, with significant plans for the future.


Click here for the original article by Darko Bicak for Poslovni Dnevnik


Subscribe to our newsletter

the fields marked with * are required
Email: *
First name:
Last name:
Gender: Male Female
Please don't insert text in the box below!

Leave a Comment