Friday 23 September 2011
First CEIM Prizes Awarded

The projects 'IPE sostenible' and 'MiHouse', created by students in the class on sustainability at the ESARQ School of Architecture, were the winners at the first edition of the prizes of the CEIM Industrialized Construction Using Environmental Parameters Department held at the UIC

Wednesday 29 July 2009
Avantmèdic, a company linked to the Pujol Group, new sponsor of the Lleida Basket Ball Team

The company of supermarkets finishes sponsorship of the Lleida Basket ball Team and Pujol Group continues the sponsorship with one of its companies

Friday 17 July 2009
Jordi Pujol: «We entered into Spanair for patriotism, but there is a business»

The investment by Pujol of one million euros in Spanair is a gesture of confidence in the future and in the capacity of the airport of Barcelona (Prat) to attract long haul flights, necessary for the Catalan econom

Thursday 16 July 2009

"Times of crisis are opportunities for companies like ours"

At the Beginning of this year the Pujol Group made the jump into external markets with the acquisition of the British factory of Bison in the United Kingdom, to where it will move its productive model. Leader of the sector of precast concrete in Spain, the conglomerate with almost seven decades of experience and its thirty one companies in the construction market, it aims to preserve its family nature by adapting itself to the new direction that the market requires. While Pujol faces challenges during difficult times in this sector it intends to continue with its seven year plan 2006-2013, which contemplates a total investment of 150 M€.

Interview with Jordi Pujol, delegate of Prefabricados Pujol, carried out by "Alimarket ConstrucciĂłn. InformaciĂłn EconĂłmica Sectorial".

ConstrucciĂłn Alimarket: What main reasons motivated the purchase of the factory of Bison?

J.P.: Bison was a company with which Pujol had already had relations going back 15 years through the International Pre-stressed Hollow-core Association (IPHA), in which the English manufacturer had been for many years the president of the organisation and us the vice president. Bison entered in crisis in 2008 and when we saw the opportunity, we used the occasion. The company had five factories where two of them disappeared. Of the three remaining, the Irish group of construction Laing O'Rourke bought two and we bought at the end of February, the plant in Leeds.

C.A.: The operation has been carried out together with a local partner through a newly created venture for the management of the plant. What is the share holding of Pujol in this venture?

J.P.: The business is called Treanor Pujol and the purchase was made at the rate of 75% in favour of Pujol and 25% of a local partner Ian Treanor, that was already related to the company. Ian Treanor, who’s father was general director of Bison is known throughout the world of the precast concrete and in the United Kingdom he has more than ten years experience in this sector and he will take care of the general management of the company.

C.A.: Were the facilities of Bison specialised in any specific products?

J.P.: The plant was specialised in essentially hollowcore slabs and T beams, which are placed on a metallic structure. This is the system of usual construction in Great Britain. Also, Bison took part in the construction of football stadiums. It had constructed the major part of the teams of the English Premier League.

C.A.: These elements will continue to be manufactured or other ones will be introduced in these facilities?

J.P.: We want to introduce the productive system of Pujol, which is what we know how to do well. We will produce hollowcore slabs and T beam, terrace units for sport stadia and every type of precast elements: columns, beams, etc, to make industrial buildings, commercial, leisure centers schools, etc.

C.A.: Which investment will be required to do that?

J.P.: The factory stopped working last October and a series of improvements are needed to start production again. It is one of the most historic precast concrete plants in Europe, opened in 1919, but has been redeveloped on several occasions. The lastest was at the beginning of this decade in 2002-2003. It is practically prepared to start producing, but we are making some small investments and basically cleaning the site to adapt the processes of our Spanish factories in this plant. It is foreseen that at the end of July or begining of August the production will start.

C.A.: What are the forecasts for this new market?

J.P.: We do not have a final financial goal right now, we want to give ourselves time to learn how a market works like the English one, which is totally different to the Spanish one. Through this knowledge we will arrive where it will be possible. What we have marked as a goal is to use other precast elements that until now have probably not been employed in the United Kingdom such as prefabricated structures. We have to go slowly. The United Kingdom is a mature country, with juridical security, etc, but immersed in a recession probably deeper than the one we are experiencing in Spain. Of 23 precast plants that the country has there has remained only nine operating, many of them are still suffering the whips of the crisis and the others are for sale. We want to take it step by step, seeing how the market evolves, without haste but without pause.

C.A.: Now you have made the jump into external markets will you continue to grow outside our borders with new acquisitions? And in Spain?

J.P.: We are not open to anything and also not closed to anything. Right now we are tremendously thrilled with this new project but we are not studying any other markets at this time. Although if presented with an opportunity then we would consider it if it fitted well into the set up of our group. We are open to any other opportunity that comes along like Bison, either in the foreign market or in the Spanish one.

C.A.: Pujol started an investor plan of 150 M€ in 2008 up to 2013. Have you not considered suspending it temporarily until the economical situation improves?

J.P.: No. We understand that times of recession are times of opportunity for companies like ours. Pujol is a company who funds itself without resorting to bank loans. Because of this it has always grown in time of recession. The banks currently are not giving any credit but we do not need them to fund our future development. we will continue with the future development as our philosophy is to come out of a recession much stronger than we entered it. We intend to continue being the leaders of the Spanish market and to become stronger in this position through acquisitions or of developments from within our own company. We have an industrial site in Les Borges Blanques that we opened three years ago, where we have doubled the production capacity of what it was two years ago. We have a cement grinding plant which we use for our own consumption and we will continue to invest adapting to the new needs of the sector.

C.A.: Pujol is present in all construction related businesses. Some years ago you entered into the cement industry and also prefabricated houses. What will be the next challenge?

J.P.: The sectors of cement and prefabricated houses were the last ones in which we entered. Right now we are developing new lines of products related with the pavements. We are the owners of Graus, Terratzos i Paviments and we are developing other kinds of products in a new factory that we have acquired two months ago. It is a plant placed in Les Borges, it is owned by Uniland but managed by us in a lease agreement contract. In it we manufacture products like paving stones etc which are a complementary product. For us, everything that has the colour, smell and taste of concrete has a place in our catalogue.

C.A.: How does Pujol face the current times of economical crisis and the slow down in the construction of our country?

"If an occasion presents itself like that of Bison, we will not reject it"

J.P.: We believe that there is not a crisis and the market is what it is and that we have to live with. What we have to do is adapt quickly to accommodate the market changes and search new products that can be sustainable. Because we are self funded and a financially healthy company this is a advantage to us specially in times like these as this gives confidence to our customers. There are many companies with initiative that are looking to do new things and this is not only in the public sector: There are still people who are intelligent enough to remain positive and not get caught up with negativity, the industrial and agricultural sectors still bring work. Logistic companies are expanding their warehouses and farmers are still constructing farm buildings. All sectors however have slowed dow, but the country is still functioning and the companies that are building we have to ensure they work with us and not our competitors.

C.A.: Given the family character of the group and its capacity for self-funding, does Pujol Group discard the entry in its shareholding of a investment company or private sector company?

J.P.: Absolutely. Pujol was set up 67 years ago by my grandfather and has been run as a family business and we intent that it remains this way for at least 67 years more. We do not believe in shareholders in our company and have always wanted to be led by people in house and have discarded totally the entry of anybody external in the shareholding of Prefabricados Pujol.

C.A.: To finish, how do you forecast the sector?

J.P.: We believe that what is happening now is an adjustment because the needs have changed. There are too many factories of precast in Spain and there is not the demand for all them. The good companies of the last decade will remain Many others will fall and we have already seen some examples, many others will also fail as the crisis is totally unpredictable. Nobody knows when we will get out of the crisis either. Past recessions were not normal and what is happening now is also not normal but we have to remain calm and be able to adapt oneself to the new times. It is necessary to adapt to the demands of the market and to be able anticipate the needs in the future.

    Category/ies: International,Interviews,Prefabricados Pujol,Pujol Group.