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The Warsaw Voice » Business » June 30, 2011
Business & Economy
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Puławy Aims to Be a Strong Chemical and Energy Group
June 30, 2011   
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Paweł Jarczewski, chairman of the board at Zakłady Azotowe Puławy SA, a chemical plant in the city of Puławy in the eastern Lublin province, talks to Bartosz Grzybiński.

Puławy is marking 50 years in business this year. Which period of the company’s operations has been the most important to its development over the past half century?
In the last 50 years there have been several important periods for the company. In the 1960s, ammonia installations as well as facilities for the production of fertilizers—carbamide and ammonium nitrate—were built. The technical and technological expertise of the company was shaped at the time as well. A team of people emerged who determined the company’s operations in the next few decades. The 1970s marked another important stage in the development of Puławy, associated with investment in new areas such as melamine—the main product for the furniture industry, and caprolactam, which is used in the automotive and textile industries.

Today we draw from the achievements of those years and the visionary decisions made at that time. The 1980s and ‘90s were when Puławy strengthened its position on international markets. The company introduced technological improvements and modernized itself extensively. A comprehensive environmental program was also launched at the time. The late 1990s saw further major investment projects, including a hydrogen peroxide installation.

At the beginning of this millennium, two ultramodern melamine installations were built, as a result of which the company advanced to third place worldwide in terms of production volume.

Today Puławy stands out in the Polish chemicals sector. We rank second in Europe in terms of nitrogen fertilizer production capacity; we are the only manufacturer of hydrogen peroxide in Poland and lead the way on the market in the manufacture of AdBlue—a product that reduces emissions in trucks fitted with diesel engines. The kind of market power available at Puławy cannot be found in any other chemical plant of its kind in Europe.

How will you celebrate the company’s 50th anniversary?
The most worthy, tangible celebration is that our company has increased its role in the European chemicals sector. This year we launched an installation that boosted our capacity in the production of carbamide. Annual output increased by 270,000 metric tons to more than 1,215,000 tons. Of course, the anniversary celebrations will also have a symbolic dimension. We want to infuse a new spirit in the company through a new logo unveiled in May, ahead of the next 50 years.

How do you picture Puławy 10 to 20 years from now?
My view of the firm is associated with its organic growth and raw material base. Puławy will be a strong chemical and energy group on the market. Together with the energy group Polska Grupa Energetyczna (PGE), we are pressing ahead with work to build a stable raw materials base for Puławy. The Puławy group will be effective enough to meet head on the challenges posed today by European regulations in the area of carbon dioxide and nitrous oxides emissions. We are also determined to meet the challenges of using the most modern technology available today. Over the next 10 years, the company will make no drastic changes to its production profile, but should be expanded to include new companies. Gdańsk-based Fosfory has already joined the Puławy group, and we are eyeing more businesses that fit into our revised strategy until 2017. We continue to invest. Last year we invested nearly zl.350 million, and followed up with zl.330 million this year. Our estimated budget for capital expenditure in the next 10 years is zl.1.8 billion and can be increased.

Our current position is determined by international chemical markets to which we have to adapt in the right way as a company, and find ways of effectively competing with other companies. This is not easy. The rule of thumb is “know thy competition as thyself.” The market environment must be understood, respected and monitored on an ongoing basis if you want your business to be effective and successful.
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