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Ferrobeton Zrt.

Papírgyári út 18-22 2400 Dunaújváros Hungary
+36 25 284444 +36 25 283932

Ferrobeton Zrt.

Ferrobeton Zrt.

Strong as concrete, despite crisis

Europe-wide, the building and infrastructure markets were hit hard by the crisis in 2008/2009. This is also true for Hungary. For several years now, investments and major projects have been postponed or cancelled. Now, Zoltán Vass, managing director of Ferrobeton, based in Dunaújváros, Hungary, sees light at the end of the tunnel. Specializing in prefabricated reinforced concrete and concrete elements, the company made major investments in the last years and is now ready for growth again.

“The last years have been very difficult, and the market has shrunk continuously,” explains Mr. Vass. “Now we are noticing slight positive tendencies. We hope that this is not just a boom prior to the election. At present, the Hungarian building industry is not even half of what it used to be in 2007. Consumers and medium-sized companies stopped spending money – they were a good balance to the major projects. The market for huge projects is very volatile anyway.”

“The last years have been very difficult, and the market has shrunk continuously,” explains Mr. Vass. “Now we are noticing slight positive tendencies. We hope that this is not just a boom prior to the election. At present, the Hungarian building industry is not even half of what it used to be in 2007. Consumers and medium-sized companies stopped spending money – they were a good balance to the major projects. The market for huge projects is very volatile anyway.”

While once repetition parts used to be the mainstay of the business, Ferrobeton now specializes in individual products. The reinforced concrete specialist supplies consumers as well as professional clients. “We build factories, halls, storage and warehouses, shopping malls, schools, football stadiums and many other types of building constructions,” explains Mr. Vass. “We were involved in a project with Audi in Hungary encompassing over 60,000 m³ and participated in all major hall constructions.”

Infrastructure projects are an important business field, too. Ferrobeton builds beams and bridge parts for motorways and telecommunication applications. The rail industry is supplied with single elements and sub-constructions. “We aim to enhance our activities in the railway and bus sector,” says Mr. Vass. “Bus stations need a particularly strong basement.”

Ferrobeton usually acts as a subcontractor focusing on the body construction, from the foundation through to the final reinforced concrete construction. The company enjoys an excellent reputation for its quality work. “Our work is our marketing,” says Mr. Vass. “You will hardly find any projects with prefabricated concrete elements where we are not involved. We participate in over 90% of all projects.”

Today, Hungary acts as a central hub for Slovakia, the Ukraine, Serbia and Romania. “We are very flexible, and we are courageous,” Mr. Vass explains the company’s success. “We have always had the courage to try new technologies and developments the market actually was not ready for. Innovation has been a major driver of Ferrobeton the whole time, and this is what carried us through the crisis. We always kept our capacities. Whenever we got a huge order, we were ready to accomplish it. Of course, we also benefit from the support of our parent company CRH group.”

The roots of the business date back to 1955. The former government decided to establish a huge iron factory in order to supply the building sector. In 1963 several companies merged into ÈM Concreteelement. In 1968, the company changed its name to Concrete- and Reinforced Concrete Works. The Dunaújváros factory was the biggest of the group.

In the 1970s, the business flourished. New technologies were purchased and developed, and many industrial and trade buildings were established. In 1991, the Dunaújváros facilities separated from the group, and since then, the company has been operating under the name Ferrobeton.

In 1994, the firm was taken on by private owners in the course of a management buyout. While the market was difficult in the first years of the century, it took on speed in the second half and many new products were developed.

In 1998, Ferrobeton acquired hollow space technology from Finland, and one year later, a company in Párkány, Slovakia, was bought. The growth story continued: In 2001, Ferrobeton took over premises in Szolnok and made major investments in the development of new products. At the same time, the dynamic enterprise purchased a factor in Pécs-Hird, Hungary, and entered a joint-venture in the Ukraine.

In order to meet the increasing demand for motorway construction, Ferrobeton invested again and built a new production hall with 7,000 m² in order to produce bridge beams. With the acquisition of a firm in Dunakeszi, the network was expanded further. In the same year, the company made its first steps on the Romanian market.

The year 2008 was a major milestone in the development of the company. Ferrobeton was taken on by the CRH Group. One year later, the CRH division Southeast Europe was founded, being responsible for Hungary, Slovakia, Romania and the Ukraine. Ergon International from Ploiesti in Romania was also integrated. Dunaújváros become the regional head office, and Ferrobeton commenced activities in Serbia.

In 2008/2009, the Hungarian government still invested in the infrastructure of the country, and of course, Ferrobeton strongly benefitted from this. “For example, we developed a bridge beam of 44 m,” says Mr. Vass. “That beam was able to span two motorways. Before, we used to have pylons. Beams meant efficient cost reductions and more safety.”

Further images

Today, Ferrobeton has a staff of 352 – before the crisis, this figures was around 1,000. In order to release capacities for peak times, the company cooperates closely with temporary workers. While in 2007, the company processed around 140,000m³ of concrete elements, the figures is now reduced to approximately 62,000 m³.

Mr. Vass came on board back in 1993. In 2011 he was appointed general director and operative director for the southeast activities of the group. Today, he is responsible for all operations in Hungary, Romania, Slovakia and the Ukraine.

“My challenge is to integrate the group into the CRH network as well as possible,” he says. “I believe that the investments that have been postponed in the last years will be made in 2014. We are ready for a boom to come.”

Related Keywords

Building Construction

Prefabricated Concrete

Reinforced Concrete

Concrete Elements

Hall Constructions

Bridge Parts

Body Construction

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