From natural gas extraction to furniture connectors

From natural gas extraction to furniture connectors
From natural gas extraction to furniture connectors
  20.11.2017  |  11:20
Čas branja: 4 min
What are the plans of British companies in Slovenia?

Foreign direct investments are an important factor of economic growth in Slovenia, which is flourishing this year. They are bringing many favorable effects to the national economy, and in most cases foreign companies are more successful than Slovenian ones, according to research.

According to recent data, there were 163 majority British-owned companies operating in Slovenia, employing 2,100 people. We have looked at how some of them are doing business, and what their plans are.

Titus Dekani increased sales six times over with its new owner

Titus Dekani, a company with 512 employees dealing with development and production of various furniture connectors, located close to the Italian border in Dekani, could be placed at the top of companies with British capital in Slovenia, according to the number of employees. The company has been part of the British group Titus International Ltd. since 2005, and is one of the largest global manufacturers of home-assembled furniture connectors.

Since British owners took over the Slovenian company, it has increased sales, the number of employees and productivity. Representatives of the company point out that it is now almost six times larger than before the merger: “In 2005, the Dekani company had 24 million euros of turnover, which increased to 83 million euros in the business year 2015/16. In year 2016/17, after the owner decided to consolidate all companies in the group within Titus Dekani, total turnover amounted to 126 million euros.

Titus Dekani now includes the development, technological and production center of the Titus Group, where 80 percent of the total 3 billion product units are assembled and shipped to over 60 countries by the British group anually. In the past five years, the company used over 25 million euros of investments for new products, expansion of production capacities and greater efficiency, and it is planning an additional 7 million euros of investments for this business year.

GKN Driveline is expanding and creating 100 new positions

GKN Driveline, a British multinational company manufacturing automobile components, also decided on a new investment in their Slovenian company. They came to Slovenia in 1998 by buying the GKN Driveline Slovenija factory in Zreče, in northeastern Slovenia close to the Austrian border, where they manufacture homokinetic joints and axles for cars. The firm will provide 20 million euros to expand the business and create almost 100 new positions. The project is also supported by the Slovenian government with a financial stimulation of over half a million euros.

“GKN from Zreče is currently operating better than planned. It is estimated that sales will increase by 12 percent by the end of the year, and the prediction for the next year is also quite positive; we expect to exceed 100 million euros turnover with new projects,” says Peter Smole, Plant Director at GKN Driveline Slovenija. The company will provide more than 11 million euros in total this year for investments, mostly for modernization of hardware and for new projects, as, besides ongoing Mercedes and Volvo projects, it will begin serial production for two large buyers, Jaguar Land Rover and Ford, for whom it will manufacture axles.

Smole points out that the British owner has an important role in searching for new businesses and markets, and the strategy of the Slovenian company, considering the locations of the nearest GKN companies (Italy, Turkey, Poland), is to cover the markets within a radius of approximately 400 miles.

“We are currently present in the countries of southeastern Europe and, given the development of large car manufacturing companies in these countries, we will be searching for new challenges in this region,” Smole adds. At the end of 2016, GKN Driveline had 400 employees.

Ascent Resources bored under the surface of natural gas fields

The largest British investor in Slovenia is Ascent Resources plc., a company from London involved in oil and natural gas exploration, which wants to restart extraction of gas in Petišovci, along the Croatian border, with a Slovenian partner and sell it to Croatia, among others.

“We firmly believe that the gas field in Petišovci has exceptional potential: that is why we are focusing all our resources on this project. We hope that we will receive the environmental license [IPPC] by the end of this year, which will enable us to start selling gas to the Slovenian network, and this will have many benefits for the country and the region,” states Colin Hutchinson, CEO of Ascent Resources.

The company from London made two bores in 2010 and 2011, which showed that there is sufficient gas available to sell, and it started test extraction from one of the bores in the spring. Since 2007 until the end of last year, the company has invested 42 million euros in the natural gas extraction project in Petišovci.

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