Interview with Ciprian Oprea, General Manager.
The end of the year is in sight. What can you tell us about the 2013 business activity of MCA Group? What were the most successful moves you have made as part of this year’s strategy?
In 2013, we’ve maintained our position as the largest garage door manufacturer in Romania with a slightly decreasing market share of 30 per cent. Our strategy was aimed at stabilizing and strengthening already outlined trends, both where domestic and export markets are concerned. In other words, internally, we’ve intensified sales through the direct sales channel we launched last year, whereas externally our goal was to have a more visible presence on the market we were already active in. The best export markets for garage doors and roller shutters are France, Belgium, Italy, and Bulgaria; we usually export our products in eight states overall. Exports accounted for 25 per cent of MCA’s 2013 turnover, slightly on the rise, but we don’t expect an increase in the overall turnover because of drops in the domestic market and national distribution.
In 2013, we have also launched a new range of shade-offering products that includes awnings, pergolas, and canopies. We think it is a successful move, but we’ll see the most significant results in spring/summer 2014. Italy and France, countries with longer sunny seasons, are our target markets in this respect.
How would you characterize the 2013 clients of MCA?
Due to Romania’s reduced standard of living, many clients choose cheaper and lower quality products rather than look for the safety and long-term warranty provided by a manufacturer such as MCA. MCA clients – those who choose our products after carefully scanning the market – are people who seek the best ratio between quality and price. Our clients do proper research before making a purchase and take into consideration family safety, the benefits a product compliant with European standards can bring, extended warranty, and an estimated 20 years of product endurance. They are people who have understood that precisely because we are Romanians we are too poor to buy cheap things. In our case, choosing a sketchy quality garage door means that in a number of years the product will have to be completely replaced and the small initial price will in fact double. Moreover, replacing a sectional door after only a few years requires other resources as well, such as time and energy to look for options, making a new purchase, replacing the old product, etc.
What is next year’s outlook?
We expect MCA business to report a 10 per cent group-level increase in 2014 compared to this year, as a result of more exports. We foresee that Romania’s situation will stabilize.
In your opinion, what will Romanian economy look like and what are your expectations in this respect?
The electoral year will make all the difference. Since elections will held in 2014, the market will have more money deal with, electoral campaign funds will be visible in the economy, and consumption will go up. If we are lucky enough to have weather conditions as favourable as in 2013, agriculture will bring a significant contribution similar to this year.
Coming back to our branch, we expect the construction market to recover and increase by 5 per cent. There won’t be other signs of improvement apart from the contribution brought by elections. Infrastructure is the highest stake, but our business (sectional door manufacturer) is not included in this category. Nevertheless, all investments in infrastructure will also influence other sectors. We hope to experience positive effects, even if only tangentially, in late 2014 or even 2015.