HOW TO BUILD FACTORIES -- Industrial Zones in Bulgaria

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August 18, 2005; Trud newspaper

August 18, 2005
Trud newspaper, Bulgaria

Eng. Valentin Kanchev and his colleague Plamen Panchev are the owners of Sienit,the Plovdiv building company, established in 1992. They both are a bit over forty.

Valentin Kanchev is a building engineer in the University of Architecture, Civil engineering and Geodesy. He has started a private business with a small building company.

Plamen Panchev has graduated the University of Forestry as layer-out of build-up areas. During the last years, Sienit has implemented mainly industrial projects – the factories of Liebherr, Socotab, Mirolio and others.

The owners of Sienit, the Plovdiv building company have been together for long time and that is why their business goes well, so those who do not know them think they are brothers. The truth is different.
Fifteen years ago, Valentin Kanchev and Plamen Panchev met like partners and started to build a common house. They have built a three-floor home, started living together and decided that they could build houses with common efforts for other people too.

Thereby they started with a house building. Correctness in the quality of implementation, good prices and schedules have brought along the customers during the years and in 1996 their first big opportunity for going into the industrial building has appeared. It was the construction of one of the first green-field projects – the factory for cherry processing for sweets of Agri Bulgaria Co. with an investor Ferrero - Italian Company.

"It has happened by chance – the company was looking for a terrain and we have provided it in Radinovo village near by the city of Plovdiv. We took the building and realized the project which was very proper for Bulgaria because it about buying of agricultural products – cherries - which had to be exported for Germany for production of Mon Sherry sweets.

"That was the perfect option for a foreign investment", says Valentin Kanchev.
What was coming next was the constructing of Mirolio factory in the city of Elin Pelin. On the place of the old building Sienit has built a new one. After the first investor in Radinovo, with the assistance of Municipality of Maritca many others come – Liebherr with their refrigerator factory, then Socotab.

Sienit has take part in the construction of Metro-Plovdiv and in the Turkish tailoring factory Santineli. What came after were the extension of Mirolio in Nova Zagora and one more extension in Elin Pelin.

If you ask them how they get in touch with the foreign investors, they will tell you simply and clearly – they choose us! The mechanism of contracting of clients that has been functioning in the house building is repeating in the industrial building too. The satisfied ones bring new ones.

"When Fererro contacted us, we were constructing 25 buildings at the same time", Plamen Panchev reminds and explains that Fererro and Mirolio are the two biggest companies from the Italian city Alba. He affirms that for the western companies the price is not the most important thing but the recommendation. After Sienit have built the factory of Fererro and they were satisfied, it was natural that their fellow-citizen Mirolio will refer to Sienit too, although other companies could offer a lower price. "The recommendation has always been the major point in our projects. We have never won a tender with the lowest price. These are private investments in which people choose the offer for a complex service" Kanchev explains.

Big companies like Liebherr or Socotab have no problem in settling their intentions for investing. They will be welcomed by every mayors, every institution, every company could help them to realize things quickly. The big problem is with the small companies. For example: many Italian companies come and want to build a factory with 100-200 working places. Then a projecting starts, they have passed through the common bureaucratic way which is slow. The fastest way for an investment takes a year for preparation. For the big companies this is a planned date. However, for that period a small company from Western Europe will bankrupt.
That is why we came to the conclusion to create a place where all this will be done in advance".

Thereby the two partners found out that they could make the next step. Exactly a year ago near by Striama village the first sod of the one and only Industrial Zone in the country was turned.

With the co-operation of the mayor of Municipality of Rakovski, Mr. Franz Kokov, they bought 815 000 square meters of terrain and started the development of the Zone. The Zone ensures perfect facilities – labour force, built infrastructure, nearness to the City of Plovdiv and Trakia highway, near the Gas-main. The first investor is the UK Company William Hughes, a producer of springs and auto-parts have started working before Christmas. Now Sienit is building there a logistic center of Kaufland, which is 50 000 square meters of built-up area. The company is building the two hypermarkets of the chain – in Plovdiv and in Haskovo cities.

The owners of Sienit are together when they take decisions and implement them, they live in a common house. Moreover, they rest together. This summer once again the two families were together at the seaside.

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