The Exporter of the Year for 2023 is Steklarna Hrastnik
The Exporter of the Year for 2023 award was presented to Steklarna Hrastnik, with the award being received by the General Manager, M.Sc. Peter Čas, at the 10th Slovenian Exporters Conference held in Brdo pri Kranju. During the conference, prominent figures such as Minister of Economy, Tourism, and Sport Matjaž Han, Acting Director of Spirit Slovenia Rok Capl, and economic experts provided insights on increasing the added value of companies and discussed economic forecasts. The selection of Steklarna Hrastnik as the ninth Exporter of the Year was made from a pool of five finalists, which included Steklarna Hrastnik, Adria Dom, Cetis, Intersocks, and Robeta.
Why Steklarna Hrastnik Is The Exporter Of The Year 2023?
Steklarna Hrastnik is among the top three global providers of premium bottles for spirits, and they also manufacture bottles for high-quality wines and mineral waters. Over the past two years, the company has achieved a remarkable increase in sales, reaching 99.5 million euros in the previous year. This growth in volume has led to a substantial improvement in the profit margin from operations, with an impressive 23.8% EBIT margin, placing them among the best large companies in this regard. Sustainable development is a cornerstone of their business, with a focus on setting trends in the glass packaging industry. The General Manager, M.Sc. Peter Čas, predicts a 20% increase in sales, a 33.5% rise in the EBITDA margin, 29.5 million euros in operating profit, 40 million euros in EBITDA, and a 21% net sales network for the current year at Steklarna Hrastnik.
Sales in 60 countries, with Italy as the largest market
Steklarna Hrastnik derives 97% of its revenue from foreign markets and serves customers in 60 countries. Their primary export markets are within the European Union, accounting for 84% of total sales (39% in Italy, 20% in France, and 10% in Germany). Beyond the EU, significant exports were made to the USA (7%) and the United Kingdom (5%). In the previous year, they expanded their prestigious spirit bottle exports to new destinations, including Cuba, Armenia, Georgia, and Finland. Steklarna Hrastnik caters to both beverage brand owners and bottle distributors.
All-in-one production of premium bottles
Over the past six years, Steklarna Hrastnik has invested more than 93 million euros in its operations, revamping its production program and implementing automation processes. They have shifted their focus from table and lighting glass to producing premium bottles for spirits, rosé wine, and premium water. Today, they are among the top three global suppliers of high-end bottles for renowned beverage brands such as Remy Martin, Pernod Ricard, Bacardi, Belvedere, Hennesy, Brown Forman, William Grant’s, SPI group, among others. They offer a comprehensive, full-service approach from idea conception, design, and development to production and delivery. Additionally, customers can choose from Hrastnik1860’s extensive collection of 32 different bottles. In 2022, they received the Red Dot Design Award for their smart solution, the e.bottle, and the EcoVadis gold medal for sustainability. In the current year, they received the Red Dot award for the RE ◦ water bottle, developed in collaboration with the JRE Association.
Reducing carbon footprint for cleaner bottle glass
Steklarna Hrastnik is committed to offering the highest quality bottles in the market, crafted from one of the purest forms of glass that does not contain heavy metals. They recently introduced a new hybrid furnace worth 25 million dollars that runs on electricity (up to 40%, up from the previous 10%) and natural gas. In October, they plan to showcase the production of bottles with a significantly reduced carbon footprint, with one of the glass furnaces using a higher proportion of hydrogen as an additional energy source (up to 30% of energy input). The company is also heavily investing in automation and digitization. This year, they became the custodian of the CEDIT project for the digital transformation of the industry, which integrates cutting-edge technologies into production and other processes. Automation has also been implemented in the glass production process, where radar measures the quality of each drop used to make a bottle, and each bottle undergoes automated quality inspection with at least two multifunctional control machines.
Ownership and employee growth
Steklarna Hrastnik is owned by the Vaider Group, which includes not only the Hrastnik factory but also a facility in Serbia (SFS Paraćin). The Vaider Group aims to increase its revenue from 100 million euros last year to 300 million euros within five years. The General Director (CEO) of the Vaider Group is M.Sc. Peter Čas, with Igor Lah as its President and Matevž Fazarinc as the Operational Director of the Vaider Group and the Executive Director of Steklarna Hrastnik. Steklarna Hrastnik currently employs slightly over 600 people, having hired 151 new employees last year. In the first half of this year, they added 33 new staff members, with further hiring expected by the end of the year.