Modernisation comes into fashion
BELARUSIAN KERAMIN’S COLLECTIONS FOLLOW WORLD TRENDS, AS DICTATED BY THE ELITE OF ITALIAN AND SPANISH CERAMIC TILE DESIGNERS. CUSTOMERS CAN CHOOSE FROM IMITATION FABRIC, TIMBER AND STONE, MADE TO SUCH A HIGH QUALITY THAT EVEN SPECIALISTS CAN HARDLY DISTINGUISH BETWEEN KERAMIN’S ‘FAKE’ MATERIALS AND THE REAL THING
Next year, the enterprise will be celebrating its 60th anniversary. It has been undergoing major modernisation since the late 1990s. “We understood at that time that our factory had become unprofitable,” recollects Keramin’s Director General, Anatoly Tiutiunov. “We needed technologies to bring our costs to a minimum. Now, despite the rather difficult market situation, especially for export (75 per cent of our output is sold abroad) we plan to complete our next project in late May.”
The company is installing a new production line designed by contemporary Italian SACMI, enabling the enterprise to manufacture large-size ceramic-granite tiles in Belarus. A special manufacturing workshop (previously housing an outdated line) has been converted. Another major project — to produce grouting — is underway, due to be operational by late 2010. Belpromproekt enterprise has already begun to prepare design documentation.
Keramin’s warehouses are currently storing 80 per cent of its monthly output and it is facing competition for those who ruthlessly copy its products e.g. a firm in Ukraine, where Belarusian goods’ access is limited. However, Belarus’ Prime Minister Sergey Sidorsky asserts, “Despite the crisis, we’ll continue our innovative work in industry. In 2009, 24 contemporary enterprises are to be built, with 286 modernised to manufacture new, competitive goods. Keramin’s modernisation is an example to others. Its direct investments, domestic and foreign, have risen 20 per cent in the first three months of this year.”
Mr. Sidorsky emphasises that the government has no plan to reduce its forecast for GDP growth. In the first quarter of 2009, this stood at 102 per cent — a pleasing figure considering the world financial and economic crisis. However, neighbouring countries are already witnessing recession. The Belarusian Prime Minister notes that a powerful anti-crisis programme has been developed, with independent specialists consulted. European banks have renewed their loans to the Belarusian economy, being confident that the country will be able to meet its repayment commitments.