On the eve of the Jubilee, at the Presidential Palace in Warsaw, the President of the Republic of Poland, Mr. Aleksander Kwasniewski decorated representatives of the shareholders with Officer´s Crosses of the Medal of Merit of the Republic of Poland.
At the Anniversary celebration in Kraków, the President of the Managing Board of Can-Pack Group, Mr. Wiesław Smulski received from the representative of the Shareholders an award of distinction for the extraordinary achievements of the Group during the past 15 years.
The Governor of Malopolska decorated 23 employees of Can-Pack and its subsidiaries with high national medals.
Below, we publish the speech by the President of the Managing Board of Can-Pack Group delivered at that ceremony.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
This year marks the 15th anniversary of the Polish Third Republic. A round anniversary of the events which permanently transformed Poland and its economy creating conditions for a free-market economy and opening Poland to a broad international cooperation.
A few months ago, 15 years have also elapsed since the moment when the company was registered on November 28th, 1989, and it became the beginning of the capital Group, later on concentrated around the tandem of Can-Pack/Pol-Am-Pack.
During that period, we have walked together on this long, and sometimes thorny path to achieve Poland’s present position in Europe and in the world, and our Holding’s position on the market, its personnel, technological, and economic potential.
Thus, our jubilee inscribes perfectly into the jubilee of the Polish Third Republic.
I wish to wholeheartedly welcome among us today our guest of honor, the man without whose courage, determination, and endeavor today’s Poland would certainly not have happened – the first President of Poland elected in the free democratic universal elections – Mr. Lech Wałęsa.
I welcome Mr. Janusz Sepiol – The Marshal of the Malopolska Province,
I warmly welcome Mr. Ryszard Póltorak – the Vice Governor of Malopolska, representing Prime Minister Marek Belka, who is not able to participate in our celebration personally.
I wish to welcome very warmly the representatives of the diplomatic missions to Poland from the countries where Can-Pack Group has its factories and conducts business:
Consul General Of the United States of America to Kraków – Mr. Kenneth Joseph Fairfax;
Consul of the Russian Federation to Kraków – Mr. Stanislav Antipin;
Consul General of Ukraine to Kraków – Mr. Oleksanr Medovnikow.
Commercial Attache of the Embassy of Romania to Poland – Mr. Aurel Marascu
I welcome a Congressman, former Governor of Tarnów – Mr. Wieslaw Woda.
I warmly welcome a former Senator and Vice Speaker of the Senate, Mr. Stefan Jurczak.
I welcome Mr. Pawel Stanczyk, representing the President of Kraków.
I welcome the representatives of the managements of the banks financing our Group: Citibank Handlowy, Bank Przemyslowo-Handlowy, Bank Gospodarki Zywnosciowej, PKO BP Bank, Societe Generale Bank, Calyon Bank, as well as the representatives of the insurance companies insuring our activities.
I warmly welcome the representatives of our customers to whom we are supplying our products and services in Poland and in over 30 countries of the world, including almost all of the countries of the European Union, the Commonwealth of Independent States, the Balkans, and the Persian Gulf.
I warmly welcome the representatives of our suppliers of materials, spare parts, tooling and services from Poland, USA, France, U.K., Germany, Russia, Austria, Spain, Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Italy.
I welcome particularly warmly representatives of the shaleholders of the Can-Pack Group.
I welcome the members of the Supervisory Councils, and among them: Prof. Ryszard Markiewicz, Prof. Stanislaw Soltysinski, Prof. Ryszard Lawniczak, Prof. Antoni Fajferek, Prof. Janusz Barta, and Mr. Janusz Majewski, whose valuable advice and suggestions are a great support in our activities.
I welcome the authorities of the trade union organizations operating in our Group.
I welcome the Managing Boards and the representatives of personnel of the 15 companies composing the holding, whose everyday work and efforts have created our Group.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Similar to other jubilees, this one is also an opportunity to recall the origins of creating the Group, and to recapitulate its achievements briefly.
Pol-Am-Pack was one of the first, if not actually the first one, large production company with the participation of foreign capital which was created at the outset of the historic changes in Poland at the end of 1989.
Its creation was preceded by long and controversial negotiations, because the venture was considered risky at that time.
However, the company was lucky to have excellent lawyers who created the legal foundations of its establishment. Apart from Prof. Soltysinski, the co-author of the basic version of the agreement, other people who were involved included: the late Mr. Sarner – lawyer from Philadelphia, Mr. Janusz Bystrzonowski, subsequently the Governor of Tarnów, or Mr. and Mrs. Sarna, two lawyers who not only continue to lead the legal affairs of the Group, but also are the members of its top management. All of them, with tremendous involvement and determination, have created the final versions of the agreements and by-laws necessary for the Company to begin its operation. The feasibility study of the project was carried out by the Joint Systems Research Department headed by the late Dr Maciej Zebrowski. The co-author of the study was Dr Wojciech Burczyk, who joined the Group ever since, and today is successfully managing the Finances Department.
The results achieved by the Company not only confirmed the assumptions, but they exceeded them significantly.
The Letter of Intent signed in May 1989, and the Founding Act of the Company signed in November 1989 defined the initial capital as 1 million US dollars, of which 80% was subscribed to by the state-owned enterprise POB Opakomet, and 20% by the foreign investor.
For the Management of Opakomet, creation of the Company was perceived as a chance to gain access to imported raw materials, and to modernize the technology of production, and when the law permitted that, also to start the privatization of Opakomet. Hence such strong determination and agreement to undertake the venture, in spite of the fact that we were aware that its capital is too small, and it would be necessary to struggle with the serious problem of securing the financing of the working capital.
On January 1st, 1990, the Company started operational activities. We started out modestly, with the initial capital of 1 million USD, without our own working capital, we had only the liabilities due to the lease of the property, and due to the fact that we took over the whole workforce of the factory in Brzesko. Our offer included only a few steel package types for foodstuffs, and it was limited only to the Polish market. We were not scared by the magnitude of difficulties. People believed in the reality of achieving the goal. What’s even more important, the management started to identify their goals with the goals of the Company. The difficulties encountered at the beginning hardened those young people, often right out of college, even more, and they consolidated them around realization of the strategy of operation drawn up by the authorities of the Company. We were also supported by Opakomet, for which I wish to thank Mr. Les³aw Lech, the managing director of Opakomet at that time.
We have all worked diligently for these over 15 years, seeking optimum solutions for the expansion of the Company, and since 1994, also the fast growing Can-Pack Group, and setting ourselves ever more ambitious objectives. The range of products of the Group and the geographical area of its activity kept growing, we kept implementing new technologies, we hired new young and ambitious staff.
What have we achieved over the last fifteen years?
We have completely modernized the factory which we took over in Brzesko. We have built brand new factories in Bydgoszcz, in Kiev, Ukraine, and in Sharjah, UAE.We have taken over and modernized, or are still modernizing the factories in Dêbica, in Yavoriv, Ukraine, in Volokolomsk, near Moscow, and in Tecuci, Romania. We are currently building new factories in Bucharest, Romania, and in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
We are preparing an expansion of the factory in Bydgoszcz.
We are thinking about new factories in Russia and India.
From one factory with obsolete technology, and with the capacity of ca. 300 million cans per year, we have created a packaging group with the annual capacity of over 3.5 billion cans, and which, after completion of the investment projects already in progress, is going to reach the capacity of over 4.5 billion cans.
In our factories, we have implemented the most modern and the most efficient technologies, and the best quality assurance and management systems in the world. Although not the largest, technologically we are the best equipped and the most economically efficient can maker in the world.
Thanks to the unprecedented agreement of the Shareholders to reinvest all of the profits of the Group in the development, during those 15 years, we have invested almost one billion zlotys, which is currently equivalent to over 330 million USD, creating over 1500 new modern jobs, and giving employment to the workers of the factories which we took over.
In the past fiscal year, we reached annual sales of 300 million USD. In the present fiscal year, we estimate that the value of sales will in crease to over 400 million USD. It means that the average annual dynamics of sales growth over these 15 years was almost 20%, and in the nearest future it will have a tendency to further increase.
Half of our production is sold for export, and from this year, export sales will have the dominating and fast growing share in the total sales.
We are selling our products and services to over 30 countries of the world, and they are enjoying a reputation uncompromising quality and modern finish.
We have created a dynamically expanding, well organized and managed packaging Group, whose sales are approaching 8% of the whole European market, and whose efficiency indexes are the best among all of the large packaging groups in the world.
We believe that we are an important taxpayer to the national budget. During the last fifteen years, only the Polish companies of Can-Pack Group have paid the amount of over 710 million zlotys, due to various taxes, i.e. an equivalent of almost 240 million USD.
We take care of the environment. All of our lacquering lines have been equipped with fume incinerators to assure that they are absolutely harmless for the environment.
We have organized recycling of the used aluminum packages, and we have achieved the recycling rate which not only exceeds the requirements agreed with the European Union, but in fact the rate which is higher than the one actually achieved in most of the EU countries.
At this point, I wish to emphasize the excellent cooperation with the schools of young walkers supported by us, and conducted by our great champion Mr. Robert Korzeniowski, and his involvement in the formation of pro-ecological attitudes and behaviors among young people.
I would like to express our sincere thanks for that to Mr. Korzeniowski’s wife who is with us here today.
We also try to take care of our workers.
During the last 15 years, we have financed the building of 136 apartments, and 14 semidetached houses, which were subsequently sold to the workers on favorable terms. We maintain a company housing fund of over 4 million zlotys, from which every entitled worker can obtain a loan on beneficial terms. Already 1989 workers have taken advantage of this possibility, for an amount of over 7.8 million zlotys.
In cooperation with Nationale Netherlanden we are conducting a worker’s retirement fund on favorable terms for the workers.
Adequately to our possibilities, we are trying to actively participate in solving the social problems of our environment. During past 15 years, we have made donations in the amount of over 7.7 million zlotys – mainly to support the solution of problems related to health care.
We are supporting financially the university clinics in Kraków, Katowice, and Poznan, and also the district hospital in Vyshgorod, Ukraine, in purchases of modern medical equipment.
We particularly value the cooperation with the university hospital in Kraków, which within the agreement we signed, takes care of diagnostics and treatment arrangements for our workers, which they otherwise would not be able to obtain from the local health care centers.
I wish to particularly thank Dr. Malgorzta Wojcik for her expert diagnoses, and the efforts to assure proper treatment for our workers.
We cooperate with the Wisla sports club. The Can-Pack Wisla basket ball team, which plays in the primary league and in the Euro league, promotes the logo of the Group and the campaign of packaging recycling in many cities in Poland and in Europe. I would like to sincerely thank the President of the Wisla club, Mr. Ludwik Miêtta-Mikolajewicz, for this good cooperation.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The results which we have achieved are the accomplishment of all workers, and it was possible to achieve them thanks to the joint effort of all of us.
Therefore, please, forgive me if I do not mention all persons who have particular merit, because their list would be very long, and it would be almost identical to the list of all workers. However, I cannot fail to emphasize the great input contributed to the results of the Group by a few key persons who have not been mentioned yet.
It would be hard to overestimate the accomplishments of Mr. Stanislaw Wasko, hired as a young engineer almost immediately after graduation, who went the whole career within the companies of our Group from foreman of the tooling department, through several mid-level management positions to his present post of the Vice President of Operations . Thanks to his gifts and efficiency in action, the Group fluently introduced the most modern and unique technologies in the world, the investment cycles were always efficient and much shorter than in the case of our competitors, many organizational and technological innovations have been implemented which bring low costs of operation and give us the competitive edge.
I must emphasize the efforts and achievements of Mr. Jozef Siwek, who is managing the production of food cans, which, taking into consideration the scale and the market conditions, is equally impressive as the achievements of the beverage can division.
I have to stress also the perseverance and skills of Mr. Wieslaw Kozak in solving the often very difficult and socially sensitive organizational and personnel issues, what made it possible without any major conflicts to put the internal relations in the companies of the Group in good order in spite of the numerous reorganizations and restructuring which were indispensable during the past period.
The young ambitions staff hired a few years ago has been established. I must distinguish here Mr. Miroslaw Tymoszuk, Mrs. Agnieszka Budzioch, and Mrs. Urszula Moryl, who are successfully managing the sales and marketing of various products of the Group. Mr. Jerzy Piotrowski and Mrs. Dorota £apuszek, who are able to efficiently secure the necessary material supplies. Dr Malgorzata Podrecka organizing and coordinating the often difficult corporate supervision over our subsidiaries, and Mr. Michal Zygmunt – an energetic, able lawyer specializing in tax law, who can not only effectively defend the interests of the Group against unjustified claims, but also initiate many beneficial solutions for our Group.
The expertise and efficiency of the managements of the factories of the Group in Poland, Russia, Ukraine, and presently Romania, also deserve a high distinction.
Our Group in general is lucky to have good staff, which undoubtedly is its main asset and source of success.
Please, allow me at this point to address also our main shareholder.
We have cooperated for almost 20 years now. We have spent a lot of time discussing many projects, all of which have been successfully realized without any exception so far!
I have to honestly admit that many of our negotiations were sometimes very tough.
After these almost twenty years of our close cooperation, during which we had some very difficult moments, I would like to thank you today for four things important for us .
– Thank you for investing in Poland, because thanks to this it was possible to create this group, and some of the workers of Opakomet could avoid the problems which were experienced by workers of some other state-owned enterprises.
– Thank you for always allowing to be finally convinced to our expansion projects;
– Thank you for entrusting us Poles with the management of the Group;
– Thank you for agreeing to reinvest all of the profits which we bring in further development of the Group, which is an unprecedented example among foreign investors.
May I wish you at this point many years in good health, continued energy for action, resistance to the pressure of our competitors, and an unshaken faith that Can-Pack’s investments are the best investments in the world!
Ladies and Gentlemen!
May I inform you that at the request of the Governor of Malopolska, the President of the Republic of Poland has awarded our shareholders medals. They were decorated with Officer’s Crosses of the Medal of Merit of the Republic of Poland.
The President has also awarded other state medals to 23 employees of CAN-PACK S.A.. May I congratulate them on behalf of all of us!
Ladies and Gentlemen!
We value the support and good will of the local authorities which our firms experience from them. It is of great importance and has an influence on the results which we achieve. I wish to emphasize the support of the Governor of Malopolska, of the Administrations of Vyshorod, Ukraine, and Volokolomsk, Russia, and the authorities of Bucharest.
We particularly value the requirements of our customers, and their kind cooperation which has enabled us to create a special model of cooperation which has been the stimulating factor for our development.
We value the expert cooperation with our suppliers of machinery, equipment, spare parts, tooling, materials, and various services.
We also appreciate the constructive dialogue which we have with the trade unions.
Dear Guests, Dear Co-workers!
Thank you very much for coming to our jubilee celebration. I hope that it leaves with you an impression that you participate in the creation of an important process of the social and economic development of this part of the world. I wish that this process be continued to the benefit of all its participants: from the workers all the way to the shareholders, in the whole chain of cooperation and financial ties, and that it is the driving force of the civilization progress. And finally, I wish you that your participation in this process is a source of satisfaction from the correct decisions and well performed obligations.