Nikola Malbaša, General Manager Of Construction Company Jadran

Transformation In The Time Of Pandemics

During a year that was unfavourable for business, Belgrade-based company Jadran managed to finalise its transformation process and become a general contractor that offers clients a complete service – from the initial design of facilities to their final construction

The COVID-19 viral pandemic is the biggest health crisis of this century, but also its biggest social and economic crisis. As an unprecedented blow to the world economy, almost wiped out entire industries and led to padlocks being placed on the doors of numerous corporations that were stable until yesterday. However, that same coin has a flip side: some companies managed to transform their operations during this crisis, continuing to invest and ultimately achieve growth.

One such example is local construction company Jadran, which has enjoyed a full seven decades of successful operations in the areas of final construction works, the revitalisation of facades and buildings under state protection and anti-corrosion protection, and which used the period of the pandemic to reposition itself as a general contractor. Here we speak with Jadran General Manager Nikola Malbaša about how this company managed, during a seemingly unfavourable year for business, to finalise its transformation process and become a general contractor that offers clients a complete service – from the initial design of facilities to their final construction and handover to the client.

Jadran is one of Serbia’s oldest construction companies. How did the process of transforming it to the position of a general contractor progress and what was included in all the steps that you took?

Since way back in 1950, when it was founded, Jadran has been delivering the highest quality construction solutions that endure. This was initially through plastering and painting works, then it advanced to anti-corrosion protection in large systems. Quality impacted on demand, and that demand impacted on the expansion of the portfolio of services. We started dealing with reconstructions, renovations and all finishing works, and our quality is also recognised beyond the borders of the country.

The pandemic didn’t stop us in our efforts to position Jadran as a company that implements large “design & build” projects

That process also continued when you took over the helm of the company in 2006, with Jadran having become a great example of a successful privatisation. What was your strategy back then?

When I, together with my team, took over Jadran, we kept the most important things – people, expertise and many decades of experience. We supported the existing capacities with strong investments, primarily in mechanisation, and set the direction, in terms of a long-term strategy of dynamic and exponential growth through the constant expansion of our portfolio of services. We entered each new phase completely prepared – both professionally and technically – and that ensured that our progress has been sustainable and stable – from privatisation until today.

How has the pandemic influenced your company’s operations?

Our priority during the pandemic has been to take care of the safety of employees, particularly on construction sites themselves, where works haven’t stopped for a single moment. Moreover, we also felt that we had to ensure stability for all the people employed in the company, but also their families. We decided to remain consistent with our strategy of development and transformation, which we launched a few years earlier. The pandemic didn’t cause us to waver in our efforts to position Jadran as a company that implements large “design & build” projects. To date we’ve completed construction of the Nikola Tesla Primary School in Belgrade. We are currently building a commercial complex in city centre, while we will soon finalise a completely new gym at the Anton Skala Primary School.

The new works, new business position and perspective that we’ve achieved, but also concrete growth, are all confirmation that we have made the right decision.

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