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The Greek Manufacturing Sector: Upcoming Prospects for the Key Players

January 8, 2006

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By Ioannis Michaletos in Athens

In today’s Greece, manufacturing is one of the economic sectors faced with great difficulties in coping with the new, globalized business arena. The emergence of Asian states, most notably China, along with ever-increasing domestic production costs, have cost Greek industrial manufacturers dearly, and translated into numerous job losses.

On the other hand, a few enterprises have found themselves more able to withstand the competition, and have actually gained international access- as well as larger profit margins. These select companies are to be found in all areas of Greek industrial production and some have aspirations to become key players in niche markets worldwide. And from what we have seen so far, most successful of these Greek firms have shown they have the abilities to do so.The following article gives an introduction to leading Greek manufacturing firms, as well as a discussion of their international presence, their products, and key statistics. Readers should note that only corporations fully owned by Greeks will be presented, and not subsidiaries of multinational corporations.

1.) Germanos Group

The first company to be introduced, and one of the strongest, is the Germanos Group S.A. Germanos was established in 1980, is listed on the Athens Stock Exchange, and has 4,700 employees. The company is divided into two divisions. The first is purely commercial, and is involved in the distribution and technical support of telecommunication and electronic products. It has over 830 shops all over Eastern Europe and Greece, in which all kinds of consumer electronics ranging from mobile phones to laptops and digital cameras are sold.

The second division, manufacturing, is situated in an industrial complex (’Sunlight,’ located in the northern Greek town of Xanthi), and it produces all kinds of batteries, from the AA type up to specialized energy systems for submarines and military ships. It exports all over the world and has recently won contracts with the navies of Germany, Peru, Romania, Ukraine, Portugal and Italy.

2.) Rolco-Bianyl

Rolco-Bianyl is another medium-sized company (370 employees) with adequate potential for future growth, but a much older one, having been founded in 1948. It is involved in the production of detergents and cleaning products. Rolco-Bianyl is also one of the few corporations in Europe that belongs to a multinational conglomerate, and it has achieved a reputation for its excellent quality of its products. It recently achieved a deal with P&G, whereas it will sub-manufacture the company’s products for the Balkan market, something which attests to the Greek company’s credibility abroad. However, Rolco-Bianyl is not at this time a listed company.

3.) Titan

A Greek company with a name equivalent to its aspirations and business prospects is Titan SA, founded in 1902. This Greek giant manufactures cement of all kinds and is the biggest firm of its type in the Balkan area, employing 6,300 workers. It also has a strong and diversified international presence, with plants in the USA, Bulgaria, Serbia, the Republic of Macedonia, Egypt and has plans to expand to Romania and Ukraine in the coming years. Titan’s volume of production is around 16 million Tn of cement and byproducts annually.

Notably, the company also offers a very developed system of benefits for its employees, combined with one of the top human resource departments in Greece. It is also interesting to note, considering the company’s line of work, that Titan claims a very strong commitment to environmental protection and is deeply supportive of actions for the use of renewable sources of energy and plans for sustainable development. Titan SA is a listed company on the Athens Stock Exchange.

4.) Alumil

Alumil SA, established in 1980, is a major aluminum producer and has acquired a high reputation for fine quality finished products. Its prospects are very good considering the current trend of increasing aluminum use worldwide, and the company has already managed to expand its export base to over 70 states on 5 continents.

Among Alumil’s future plans is the creation of an energy production plant for its own plant’s usage, and in parallel to sell the excess electricity generated to the national power corporation. Alumil SA has 1,800 employees, and is listed on the Athens Stock Exchange.

5.) M.J. Maillis Group

The M.J Maillis Group SA, founded in 1968, is one of the fastest growing Greek manufacturing companies. A unique feature of the company is the geographical dispersion of its facilities; Maillis manufactures plastic and hard paper by-products in the USA, Romania, Austria, Germany, Spain and Great Britain. The firm has 2,100 employees, and is a listed company. Given the increasing demand for packaging products due to world trade’s continued growth, M.J. Maillis seems to be operating on a continuous upward trajectory.

6.) Lycos Group

While Lycos Group SA has kept a fairly low profile, there are high expectations for this Greek producer of systems and by-products used in the printing/publishing industry. Its growth potential is to be found in the technological advancement of the very competitive printing industry, along with investments worldwide in this particular sector. It has already established a presence in China in order to secure future lucrative deals in the world’s biggest and fastest growing market. Lycos was established in 1897, has 1,300 employees, and is listed on the Athens Stock Exchange.

7.) SATO Group

The SATO Group S.A., established in 1964, is a producer of furniture and creates office designs on a grand scale. Despite having a workforce of only 400, it is listed on the Athens Stock Exchange. It made strong gains during the Greek furniture boom of the 1990’s, and is now focusing on the European export market. SATO has a wide variety of products with specialty in office furniture equipment of high quality. The company is believed to have strong prospects, as it has already established contacts with various growing markets in Eastern Europe. Plus, the recently established branches of multinationals in places like Warsaw and Budapest of course want the swankest new models for their director’s offices.

8.) Hellenic Aerospace Industry

Hellenic Aerospace Industry is currently the only state company, and most probably the only state-owned entity with huge growth potential. With an auspicious introduction on the stock market and the possibility of gaining the main contract in a possible Eurofighter procurement by the Greek air force, HAI’s prospects are very good indeed.

The company, which was founded in 1975 and has 3,500 workers (around 300 more are to be hired by the beginning of March) has already established facilities for the manufacture of engine parts, weapon systems and airframe parts for a wide range of airspace models, such as the F-16, M-200, F-4 and C-130. It is also involved in the electronics sector, creating complex Command Control & Communication systems for the Greek army. Moreover, HAI is a part of the consortium that manufactures the Iris-T air-to-air missile, and has reached an agreement with Dassault to design the first “stealth” UAV, the Neuron project. It already has 150 international agreements in force with companies from France, USA, Germany, Israel, South Korea, Italy and m
ore.

According to governmental announcements, the company’s privatization is due to be held in mid-2006, involving 25 percent of its stock.

8.) Petzetakis Group

The successes demonstrated by the 45 year-old Petzetakis Group S.A. lend an example for other Greek manufacturing firms who would like to expand worldwide. The company produces plastic components, pipe hoses and related material, and has acquired considerable percentages in its market segment. Its facilities include locations in Romania, South Africa, Germany, Portugal and Italy. Petzetakis is driven by increased exports and its prospects are very good, especially in the developing world, because of the wide applications and uses for its products in the agriculture and construction sectors on the rise in areas like the Middle East, North Africa and China. Petzetakis is a listed company with some 1,500 employees.

Interesting Links for Further Information

Further information on these and many other Greek companies can be obtained from the official websites of the Athens Stock Exchange, and the Federation of Greek Industries.

Details on export-import and investments can be found, respectively, on the website of the Hellenic Export Organization, and that of the Hellenic Center for Investment.

For information on businesses in the Athens area, visit the website of the Athens Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

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