Company RECA was one of the first to “courageously” launch operations in Serbia back in 2002, when the country had barely begun its transition. That’s why we began this interview with an analogy. “Today we can say that, from a Western perspective, the political, economic and administrative conditions were certainly very difficult when we started our business in Serbia 15 years ago,” explains Mr Ernst Wiesinger for CorD, comparing the period when RECA launched its operations in Serbia to the present day.
– We founded the company in 2002. The Yugoslav Balkan Wars finally ended around 1999, which we felt in every phase of the company’s development. Serbia was then a rather politically unstable country. We had experiences that were quite irritating for us, but nonetheless we never questioned the potential of Serbia. We have always trusted in the country’s potential, the people in the country and, of course, the employees we hired for RECA Serbia – fortunately we did so. During the last 15 years, many things have changed and today things are quite different. These days we certainly see Serbia as a very stable and prosperous country. We haven’t regretted launching our business in Serbia for a single second and we’re really satisfied with previous and current developments.
Serbia certainly isn’t the biggest market on which you operate. If Serbia is unable to compete in terms of market size, does it have any other comparative advantages over others?
– The RECA Group does business in 21 countries, 20 of which are located in Europe and one in Asia (in China, to be precise). The business operations of all companies within the RECA Group can be divided into the following four business units: Metal (craft), Industry (manufacturing and maintenance), Automotive (passenger cars and commercial vehicles) and Specialist (personal protective equipment, devices etc.). In the RECA Group’s portfolio of markets where we sell our products, Serbia is certainly not a big country, with its approximately seven million inhabitants.
On the other hand, when it comes to population, Serbia can be seen as being on a similar level to the national economy of Austria – in Austria we have around 8.8 million inhabitants. When we now compare the population of Serbia with Austria and the sales figures we achieve in the two countries, we can still find great potential in Serbia. Today we generate annual sales of around €3 million in Serbia. With only slightly more inhabitants in Austria, we achieve sales as high as €160 million. We definitely want to tap into Serbia’s full potential in times of prosperous economic conditions.
What would you single out as a specific success of RECA Serbia during the last 15 years?
– Due to the aforementioned economic and political conditions of 2002, we had to go through an extremely tough initial phase. However, the core management team and many employees at RECA Serbia have remained with us since the very beginning, 15 years ago. As such, I believe that this loyalty to the company in particular, and the willingness to overcome all previous difficulties that we faced together and our intention to make things better for the future, were certainly key success factors.
Our current business results represent a remarkable success that could only be achieved through people acting in concert and working as a team. So, I can only congratulate the management team of RECA Serbia for being willing to travel this challenging route to becoming the kind of successful and prosperous company that it is today. We are collectively really proud of RECA Serbia and its development during the first 15 years of its existence.