The business market where the company activates is currently a developing one, said Saulo Spaolanse, Country President, Schneider Electric Romania.
How do you perceive Romania’s business market since you have taken the lead at Schneider Electric in this country?
Schneider Electric is a global leader in energy management. On the one hand, we focus on providing solutions for energy efficiency. The other segment of our business deals with renewable energy. There is incredible growth potential on the Romanian market in both directions of our business. Our customers become increasingly aware of the fact that energy efficiency is not only good for the planet, but it also helps them save money, we expect this segment of our business will also grow. Geographically speaking, Romania has a great potential for renewable energies (hydro, wind, solar). For instance, there are 210 sunny days per year, which equals great natural resources for solar energy. So, to answer your question, I think the business market where Schneider Electric activates is currently a developing one.
You have extended your business all over the country in 15 years, providing different energy related services. Which segment of your business is more successful and profitable in Romania?
We offer solutions for different market segments, occupying leading positions in the areas of energy and infrastructure, industry, buildings, data centers. The company also has a prominent presence in the domain of applications for the residential segment.
Do you intend to extend even more? What are your plans for the next few years in this country?
I emphasize that we always like to look at the long term and we always plan growth. We have been established in Romania for 15 years, so Schneider Electric has a serious commitment to investing in the Romanian economy. We are not here in an opportunistic way.
Your future investments will also provide new jobs for Romanians?
When it comes to employment opportunities, Schneider Electric values the Romanian work force. Our Romanian employees have incredible skills, a strong work ethic and great linguistic abilities. We have recently opened a regional customer care center within Schneider Electric Romania, where we hired 47 people. This customer care center caters for clients of Schneider Electric from more than 15 countries around the world and we are very happy with the results.
Why did you choose to invest in Romania in the first place?
As I have said many times before, I see a lot of potential in Romania. It is a new economy and this obviously brings along some shortcomings in the business environment. It is the second poorest country in EU, so we expect high level of investments to catch up EU standards. Even comparing to other Eastern Europe countries, there is a room for growth. There is room for improvement in the infrastructure, we could use better regulations, but all in all, what is fascinating in being present on a developing market is the part you can play in bringing it up.
Dealing with the recession people want to cut costs on different fields. What services do you provide or intent to provide to help your clients cut back?
Our entire energy efficiency business unit focuses on helping clients to cut their energy costs. Energy efficiency solutions help save up to 30 pc energy, which is quite significant, given the fact that energy costs continue to rise. Simple solutions help achieve great results. For instance, by installing a simple sensor connected to the lighting system, you make sure the energy consumption is only happening when someone is actually present in the room and the investment pays off in 4-6 months. About the corporate customers, the companies, in the last three years they realized how important is energy efficiency in terms of their costs and they are very open to our consultancy and solutions and we, as the global specialist in energy management, do our best to create custom tailored solutions that add value to their businesses. Our customers are our partners. We exist to serve them in the best manner, to help them make the most of their energy.
On global scale, Schneider Electric signed a partnership with Renault in order to provide electric cars infrastructure. Do you think Romania will be ready in the near future for this kind of innovation on auto market?
Under the leadership of Renault, this is what we are working on. Schneider Electric, Electrica, Renault and Siemens are working together in this partnership meant to encourage mobility with zero carbon emissions. A project team from all the partner companies has drafted the documentation regarding the infrastructure for electric cars on the local market, which was send to the local authorities. The documents contain the next steps towards implementing this project. Currently, local authorities are analyzing the documents and we are counting on their help to make things possible. This project involves a huge transformation in the infrastructure of the city, therefore all parties involved should do their part well for the entire initiative to succeed. And yes, my opinion is that on a medium term electric vehicles will be part of our daily life in major cities. At first, companies will invest in electric cars, than people with high incomes and than the large population.
You represent a multinational company. How does business in Romania go, comparing with other countries, where you are active?
In 2011 we are performing very well in Romania, overcoming our targets, increasing our market share. We manage Romania as a new economy, which means consistent long-term growth.