The Slovenia Times

Keko Varicon - the Nation's Fastest Growing Company



Keko Varicon, Zuzemberk-based and run by CEO Zoran Zivic, is a producer of ceramic electrical components. Over the last 12 years the company has managed to completely turnaround in its business policy, largely due to its orientation towards technological innovations. Back in 1995, it was well on the way to bankruptcy; but its extensive investment in research and development have facilitated 25 new products in eight years. Half of all their products are unique, and 93 per cent of them target foreign markets. Keko Varicon has successfully become a trusted supplier to many of the leading European and American car manufacturers; their relationship with Fiat is particularly notable as they are now its major supplier. In the past five years, the company has managed to increase its sales by 3.8 % and create 74 new jobs. The company's ambitions include the foundation of their own institute for development and to break into the Japanese market. Interestingly, the Ljubljana-based biomedical components maker Bioiks (CEO Rudi Ocak), has no need of an advertising budget as all of their profit stems from their cooperation with two of Italy's leading multinational firms, Gambrodasco and Dideco. Despite their advanced production process, utilizing robots of the company's own making, Bioiks has still managed to employ more than 200 people since 1998. Within the same period, the company's sales have increased tenfold. The company intends to grow and develop successfully by introducing highly advanced robots to the production process, and thereby achieving even greater productivity, as well as by remaining an innovation-oriented enterprise. Once a small family-run bakery, Don Don from Kranj (CEO Ales Mozetic) has developed into a medium-sized company with almost 300 employees within just 12 years. The pastry maker specializes in donuts and, in Slovenia, it has become the leading player in its field over the past six years with its renowned 'Tvojih pet minut' brand. The company also covers half of the Croatian market. They are considering expanding into other European markets, which would entail some adjustments to their production programme; but the company is well prepared to make and distribute frozen pastry around Europe alongside of their daily offering of fresh products on the home market. Where Gazelles Roam Gazelles live in the most urban districts of the world, but most certainly not within zoos. Gazelles are dynamic companies characterized by speedy growth, flexibility and innovation. The term was introduced by the renowned American economist and researcher David Birch back in the 1970's. It is used to label medium-sized companies that generally start up as small family companies with limited financial resources, but develop explosively when the time is right, have a vigorous employment policy, and always keep one step ahead of the competition. Their aim is not to survive but to succeed. They invest considerably into research and development and manage to outsmart their rivals by capitalizing on innovative new ideas. Gazelles boost the economy and create jobs, being responsible for 70 % of all private jobs in Europe's EUR 9.3 trillion economy, according to the European Commission, which is why the capacity of an economy to grow and employ can largely be measured in its capacity to produce gazelles. According to Birch, there are two other types of companies, elephants - giants with thousands of employees; and mice - small companies with no prospects of growth or development. Slovenian Golden Gazelle Project The business weekly, Gospodarski vestnik (GV), launched the Gazelle Project in 2001 to show that fast growth and good entrepreneurial models are essential factors in Slovenia's economy. By 2003, the Golden Gazelle award had emerged as one of the most prestigious business prizes in Slovenia. Every year the three top 'hot growth' companies are chosen from among regional winners according to three criteria: their ranking on GV's list of the 500 fastest growing Slovenian companies; the opinion of GV's editorial panel; and that of the Gazelle jury, which comprises businessmen, ministers and economists. A Clear Vision At the traditional autumn meeting of the Manager's Association of Slovenia in Portoroz, Sonja Gole, the general manager of Adria Mobil, was declared the Manager of the Year. Justifying its choice, the association said the success of Adria Mobil, the Novo mesto-based camper and caravan producer, may be largely attributed to its manager's encouragement of team work, concern for the personal growth of the employees and management team, efficient communication skills and her commitment to work. Under the leadership of Gole, the head of Adria Mobil since 1996, the company has grown into a successful enterprise, which has posted excellent business results in the face of relentless international competition, constantly expanded its production and share of the European market and increased the number of its employees. In the past two and a half years the company has created 230 new jobs. Last year it generated almost EUR 148 m in net sales revenues, up 31 % over 2002, while it increased profit by 42 %, to over EUR 8 m. Moreover, the numbers just keep getting better; in the first half of 2004 the company's profit rose to EUR 7 m, the added value per employee at Adria Mobil is close to EUR 21,000, and the company also boasts a 38.9 % return on capital. The 2002 Bronze Gazelle has a clear vision; to become one of Europe's leading manufacturers of caravans and campers.


More from Nekategorizirano