Mr. Shmeltzer, you invested more than 10 million EUR in Romania. You think you will invest even more in our country?
10 years ago my father decided to start investing in Romania. The decision was a very rational yet combined with a lot of emotions. My father was born here in Romania, and had very strong feelings related to this country. The idea to come back and establish a successful and powerful group here, was in his mind ever since Romania became accessible to foreign investments. But, of course it was also rational one: Romania is one of the most potential countries in Eastern Europe and in the entire continent. Last year when I became the Chairman of Shlomo Group it was clear to me that I will continue my father’s strategy and encourage the activity here. In our Group, we think that in the following years the economy of Romania will develop and we will be here to expand.
What is the medium and long term strategy for New Kopel Group and for the other business in Romania of Shlomo Group?
Let me start with our values: First value is fairness. We believe that we have to do business in a fair way with suppliers, customers, but even with competitors. Secondly, is the Always Yes policy. We are trying to understand the market and the customers’ needs and demands, and to give a solution to each and every request that we receive. This is why, we created One Stop Shop group of companies. Practically, the group can supply each and every solution that the automotive industry is offering to the customers. We have in our group Operational Leasing, Rent a Car company, Second hand car sales, Car Service and we are also a dealer operator of Opel. This mix gives us a huge flexibility in creating solutions. In the operational leasing activity we are trying to show to the market what a wonderful tool they have at their disposal, addressed to all kind of companies. The size of the operational leasing market in Romania is very small compared to other countries in Europe, so the potential is very high. In conclusion, we put a lot of effort to help the market understand this tool. In the second hand car sale for example, we are trying to give to customers piece of mind. Each and every customer that is coming to us and buy a car, receives 2 years warranty. By the way, in this activity we see the recovering of the economy the most: more and more we see people coming to us after they have been saving up a few thousands Euros for buying their first property. This is how middle class is created.
What investment plans has Shlomo Group for Romania for the next 5 years?
We, as a Group of companies, we are very open minded to the trends and needs of the economies we operate in. We are ready to invest in any activity that we can demonstrate our added value and create synergy.
What is the main activity that New Kopel will put a focus on the next period?
As I said previously, one of our value is One Stop Shop. In order to maintain it and by giving customers effective solutions to all their demands, we need to develop all our activities in parallel, to be multitasking and to be very sensitive to customers and market needs. It is a day by day process of development.
What division, according to business strategy, will generate the biggest business growth in 2015 in Romania?
Well, we expect all of our business units to grow, but there are two that by increasing will present a significant indicator that the economy in Romania is doing well: Operational Leasing and Second hand car sale business units.
How did Shlomo Group close the year 2014 financially speaking? Did the turnover increase over USD 1.4 billion in 2013, according to information available on the website of the group?
It has indeed, only Shlomo Holdings LTD, which is one of the companies in the group and the direct owner of the local group has performed a turnover of just under one billion USD in 2014 (an increase of about 2% since 2013).
How the operational leasing market modified in the countries you operate, in the last 10 years?
What is the forecasts regarding the dynamics of this market, in your opinion? We have to admit that lately we can see a change in the market, and we are receiving more and more work on all our business units. We evidence the different needs of different clients an potential clients and aim to come up with all possible solutions to meet the new criteria. Romania is the country with the smallest fleet in operational leasing and our mission is to help the market to understand the benefits of this product. For example, in other countries in Europe, public institutions are using operational leasing as a tool to keep costs budgeted and minimise balance sheet inflation of assets and finance.
Is there a operational leasing customer`s profile in Romania? What would be his portrait?
Practically we have customers with 2 cars and customers with 200 cars. Customers that are acting in fields like pharma, constructions or beverage. What they have in common, is their power to understand the benefit of operational leasing. To understand that there are no unpredictable cost, customers that understood how important time is and what great results you can have if you are focusing on the core of your business by outsourcing the things that are exhausting management attention without actually promoting the company.
Finally, the Group you are having in Romania is a strong one and created a lot of work places. Do you have something to say regarding that?
I am happy that you asked me this question, because in our organization manpower has a very strong attention. We believe that people are the biggest asset in each organization, and very true in ours. Everyone that has money can buy cars and offer them to customers, but at the end of the day business and services are done by people and not by equipments. We are proud of our team in Romania, and we will continue to invest and promote this significant asset.