Interview with the new General Manager - Marc Andre Fritsche

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Marc-André Fritsche, Azur General Manager: "The construction market is the main driver of our business".
The big company from Timisoara, Azur has three production lines. The line for water based paints works at full capacity and takes into account the expansion of production capacity.
Azur paints and resin factory from Timisoara is already a name not only in Romania but also outside the country. Both business and production are growing from year to year. About this business and the profile market I spoke to Marc-André Fritsche, General Manager of Azur, who gave an interview to Constructiv magazine.

Can you give us some technical data about the factory?

Our factory covers 12 hectares in Timisoara, where 3 types of production lines operate:

- for water-based paints and solvent.

- for polyester and alkyd resins.

- for SMC and glass fibers reinforced polyesters.

While only 50% of solvent production capacity is used, the line for water based paints is currently working at full capacity and we are exploring the possibility of expanding the production capacity.

Which products or product range does Azur address and come to support the constructors (professionals or nonprofessionals)?

We pay special attention to the products that address the builders, making available to them a wide portfolio of silicone based decorative  plasters for façades, silicone washable paints, with antibacterial properties, based on latex, both for indoor and outdoor finishes, white and colored. We are known for the wide range of wood and metal enamels in a single layer, with fast drying, and for paints that can be applied on rust directly.

Epoxy flooring systems offered by Azur are an ideal solution for protecting and decorating concrete surfaces, especially if the surface requires protection against aggressive factors such as friction, mechanical wear or exposure to chemicals. Fields of application of epoxy systems are diverse, ranging from the medical and pharmaceutical fields, the food industry, industrial and production halls to public and commercial spaces.

What local real estate segments have the products of the group reached, as volumes, or even vaguely over the past 2-3 years?

Our products have been used for new projects and renovations, especially in residential areas, 67% and 33% in industrial buildings. Our portfolio includes industrial paints with anti-corrosion protection, with applications in various fields.

Have there been any changes in these weights compared to the situation 9 to 10 years ago?

Compared to the previous years, with the growth of industrial buildings (production spaces), we saw an increase of 3 - 5% / year in sales of products dedicated to this market segment.

What are your distribution channels? How do Azur products reach users / consumers?

In Romania, we use all the specific distribution channels, direct and through distributors: traditional retail, DIY stores, construction market and industrial consumers.

We opened a new showroom at the entrance to our factory, where we have the full range of products and where we offer technical advice to our customers, which we want to extend to other cities in Romania.

Another novelty of this year is the signing of a new partnership for the Bucharest area and the neighboring areas. In the counties of Arad, Caras Severin and Timis we make direct distribution, and this year we have extended in the counties Dolj, Olt, Mehedinti, Valcea, Gorj, Arges. We are also present in DIY networks in Romania and abroad. Sales of paints to our foreign partners in Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovakia recorded a 7% increase in the first 5 months of this year, compared to the same period last year.

I know that in the past years you had a very good presence for export. What's the situation now?

As already mentioned, we have strong partnerships with companies from both the European Union and exporting to France, Germany, Great Britain, Poland, Hungary as well as outside the EU.

Remaining on the external market, you used to receive a large part of the raw materials from abroad. What is the current situation?

The domestic producers' market for raw materials from the chemical industry has been narrowing lately, resulting in the import of 90% of the raw materials and only 10% from the local producers.

One of the most important factors - if not the only one - for product price developments is the demand. As far as I know, the profile market (lacquers, varnishes, paints, resins) that you activate on has increased in recent years. How has the price of Azur varnishes and paints changed in recent years by product category?

The Romanian market is still a price-sensitive market. But we, like the other players, had to increase the price of paints in last years due to the shortage of raw materials on the market and the increase in their price, inflation and the rising prices for energy, utilities, gas. Shelf prices of coatings are still low and we expect an increase in the average shelf price.

What investments have you made in the last year?

Last year, an energy consumption monitoring project was launched to increase the capacity to identify and implement energy efficiency measures to save energy and limit greenhouse gas emissions. We pay special attention to the environment and to the environmental impact of our products.That's why we focus our attention on developing product recipes with minimal impact on the environment.

Name, please, some important projects, for Azur products in the last 12 months .

We have completed projects with OMV Petrom where we delivered  enamel with electrostatic application, for fuel tanks.

Name some projects, you have already signed for AZUR products.

Since this spring, we have a partnership with a construction company for the coverage of the ANL blocks in Timisoara, where we supply plaster for about 3000sqm facades.

How was the sale of Azur products lately ?

The volumes on the paint market are made with plasters, decorative and washable paints, trend followed by Azur too.

A few words about Azur’s businesses?

Besides the production of paints and industrial coatings, we have developed and consolidated our position on the polyester and alkyd resin market.

Azur is the only SMC manufacturer in the country, SMC based on our own resin. We produce electrical cabinets, decorative facade plates, drainage items, and other parts used in the electrical and construction industry.

Last year we also entered the metalworking market.

Tell us a few words about how the business with varnishes, paints, resins was influenced by the evolution of the construction market in the last years?

The construction market is the dominant driver, and it is important for us to have dedicated brands for this market.

We are focused on the quality of our products, produce with care towards the environment and invest in innovation and research.

Turnover in 2018. And an estimate for 2019?

In 2018 we had a turnover of 160 million lei, and for the current year we estimate an increase of 165 million lei.

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Contact Information
Constructorilor Boulevard, No. 1-3, Timisoara 300571, Romania
tel: 0040-256-222139
fax: 0040-256-222179