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Salonit Boss Confident About Company's Future (interview)

Anhovo, 24 December (STA) - The new CEO of Salonit Anhovo Julijan Fortunat is confident that the construction materials company has a bright future. He has told the STA that while the peak of 2008 will never be reached again, the crisis in the construction sector seems to have bottomed out.

Fortunat, who took over in December while already on the supervisory board in the past, explained that many of Salonit's parters are struggling with insolvency, which is hurting the company.

While things "have been changing in recent months slightly, I feel that we will still witness an unpleasant event or two in this field", he said.

Moderate growth is forecast in construction for next year, "but I personally believe that we will not see this if the state does not launch a few major infrastructure projects".

Fortunat however expects growth again in 2015, as he feels that things are moving forward, "although presently only in segments tied to European funding".

The CEO highlighted cost cutting, securing new customers at home and abroad and assessing correctly which clients will be able to pay on time as some of the company's priorities.

He said Salonit was looking at new deals in Italy and Libya while also noticing an increase in demand from Algeria.

"It seems that North African countries, provided that the political situation is relatively stable there, are very much involved in major infrastructure projects, which is why we'll continue to look for opportunities on these markets."

Salonit, which is presently only using half of its capacities and is planning in 2014 a 10% increase in revenue on the EUR 46.7m projected for this year, wants to remain the key player in cement manufacturing and sale in the wider region, Fortunat said.

He pointed to the importance of good cooperation with the local community, stressing that Salonit, located in Anhovo in the west of Slovenia, had invested intensively in environmentally friendly production in the past ten years.

"The modern technology does not pollute the environment, which we are proving with regular air pollution measurements...These show that people living in the direct proximity of Salonit are breathing quality air."

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