The German company IM ”Steinel Electronic” Ltd., that specializes in the production of electric and electronic equipment and subsets, has developed step by step throughout the years, representing nowadays one of the most successful foreign investments in the Republic of Moldova. The company started to activate in 2007 with seven employees and an annual production volume that amounted to several tens of thousands Euro. After seven years, we are talking about a successful business with 250 employees, an annual turnover of 10 mln Euro and a considerable growth potential.
IM ”Steinel Electronic” Ltd. is part of the German group Steinel that owns factories in Germany, Switzerland, the Czech Republic and Romania. After ten years of activity in Romania, in Curtea de Arges, Steinel group decided to expand its business, thus it needed new production areas. Moldova became attractive due to two reasons – first of all, the same language is spoken in both Moldova and Romania, thus the integration process was easier; second, the country has very good knowledge and industrial experience in electronics. Therefore, after deciding to expand its production territory, the Company Steinel has not only developed another successful business, but has also managed to contribute to the revival of the electronic domain in Moldova.
Everything started in a garage
The company started its activity modestly, in “garage” of about 60 square meters in which 6-7 people worked. ”Many people say that we are the company that started to work in a garage. It is not a joke. Indeed, it was a kind of garage where several people worked. We wanted to see if Moldovan people were interested in this kind of activity and if, in return, this collaboration will be interesting for us. We have invested step by step and in the end, it turned out to be a good and mutually advantageous thing. Now, the “garage” has 10 thousand square meters, and where 250 employees “fit””, said Victor Hoffman, the Chairman of the Administration Council of the Company, who together with other colleagues ensure the necessary conditions for the activity of the company in Moldova.
Investments of millions
After realizing the growth potential of the Moldovan market, in 2013, the company bought a production territory that consisted of 10 thousand square meters and 2 ha of adjacent ground, situated on the outskirts of Chisinau. The investor is sure that he did not come to Moldova for a short period of time, and the investments he makes prove this fact entirely.
This way, the German group invested approximately 5 mln Euro in the business from Moldova, including in the renovation of new areas. Recently, the company has purchased a machine that packs the end products, a strategy that is meant to make the production processes more efficient.
As a result of these investments, Steinel factory from Chisinau can easily be among the most performant and well-equipped factories in Europe. The working conditions are identical to those of other Steinel factories, the work schedule is followed accordingly and the employees have a responsible attitude towards their tasks. In other words, order, professionalism and German quality are present in Steinel factory from Chisinau.
From separate elements to end products
In Moldova, the company specializes in producing electronic plaques for sensors, and electrical resistance devices for hot air generators. Lately, the company will produce the necessary raw material made from plastic, which was usually imported from abroad, a fact that will lead to a considerable decrease in the expenses of the company.
If at the beginning the company used to produce only electronic elements, which were further assembled in Germany in order to get the end product, nowadays, the whole process is carried out in Chisinau, as all the necessary conditions have been created here. The products made at Steinel company from Moldova are exported, this is an important condition before the state, and that is followed by Steinel group. Steinel products can be found on all continents, being initially exported by the German group, and afterwards they are delivered to over 70 countries in the world. The products are exported from Moldova with the inscription ”German engineering Made in Europe”.
The ascending evolution of the company in Moldova has allowed the production volumes to increase that has resulted in a change in the annual turnover – from several tens of thousands of Euro in the first years of activity to 10 mln Euro in 2013. Moreover, the administration of the company is sure that these figures are not the ultimate development stage that could be reached by Steinel in Moldova.
The profit does not necessarily lie in the money
Victor Hoffmann states that the business is profitable because ”if it weren’t profitable, we wouldn’t do it”. At the same time, he is convinced that the highest profit does not necessarily lie in money, but in the long-term collaboration that Steinel group sees in Moldova. Victor Hoffman said confidently that: ”We are sure that we will be able to develop a long-term business in Moldova, that will bring money and that will be profitable for everybody”.
The administration of the German company appreciates very much its collaboration with the Republic of Moldova, and this fact is confirmed by the investments in the new production territory as well as the possibilities to expand with 50%. Moreover, the products are qualitative, the costs are lower than the profits, and the deliveries are on time, a fact which allows the investor to look with confidence at the perspective of business development in Moldova.
People – the key to the success of the business
Victor Hoffman stated that people represent the success of this business and throughout the years he found it a general truth. ”The building is not the basis of a business, because you can build as many buildings as you want. The foundation of a business are the people who support this building, give it life and work for the business to prosper. The people are the biggest asset of this factory. We are very pleased with the human potential that exists in Moldova and we have managed to develop this business thanks to their knowledge, hard-work and reliability”, said the Chairman of the Administrative Council of the company, who also stated that the company helps people as well, by having an adequate salary policy that allows them to increase the salary every year.
Steinel – Authorized Economic Agent
Perseverance and honesty in business contributed to the fact that in 2014, Steinel became the first company that received the certificate of Authorized Economic Agent from Customs Service. This permits the company to benefit from simplified payment of duty procedure, decrease of number of physical controls, priority during payment of duty, as well as exemption from guaranteeing import rights.
Future plans – to attract other investors
Steinel started to activate in Romania in 1992, being one of the first foreign companies that had the courage to break the ice and launch businesses in this country. The successful experience of Steinel group in Romania determined other German companies and not only, to focus their attention towards the neighboring country. Nowadays, after Steinel started to activate in Moldova, showing step by step that trust can replace mistrust, the German group hopes that the example will be followed by other foreign investors who are reluctant to start a business in Moldova.
Victor Hoffman said that: ”In order to make an achievement, we don’t rely on assumptions, but on our own experience, that in Moldova, there are many possibilities to develop a business. I advise other foreign investors to come to Moldova without any fear. If we had never come here in order to understand what we can accomplish here, then we would have never known the chances that we could miss.”