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22 Mar

WTH GmbH in Stade is 25 years old (01)

"Poland - Our Future Market"


(mud) -  In the company's 25-year history, Walter Thieme, Managing Director of WTH GmbH in Stade, had to make many decisions. One of the important of which was 2009, the leap to the Polish polymer market. There he recognized strong customer markets with inadequate domestic raw material supply.

"Lower growth, overcapacities and partly ruinous competition in our traditional sales territory Germany and Austria forced us to grow," Walter Thieme notes in retrospect. A leap over the boundaries was inevitable. During this period, dynamically growing economies developed in Eastern and South Eastern Europe with corresponding domestic demand.

"I was looking at Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary," Thieme recalls. In order to have a realistic chance, he chose Poland, the largest economy in these countries, with corresponding dynamic growth and large domestic demand. Thieme: "All of those we would not have made it."

Anyone who wants to conquer new markets, not only need profound market knowledge, investment funds and especially courage. He also needs real partners, who mainly know the language of the country. After the services of a Polish consultancy firm had proved to be of little help, the Stader entrepreneur was looking for his own staff in Poland.

At first a German employee, who lived in the German-Polish border region, studied physics in Katowice, was married to a Polish woman, and had very good Polish language skills. "But that alone", Thieme knows today, "it is not enough. He lacked Polish language competence in the area of face-to-face sales meetings ".

"Then an employee of Polish origin came to us, who spoke fluent German," said Thieme. It was an ambitious salesman who took his customers "at the word" and never let go. Thieme: "Very committed and with feeling for what is possible in his Polish countrymen." He was a salesman who the necessary technical knowledge appropriated quickly. The man worked from the Homeoffice first in Krakow, later Tarnow. Three years ago he left the company.

"Since then, Witold Giernas has been our man in Poland," Walter Thieme summarizes the personnel situation. The chemist is also a native of Poland, knows country and people, and is characterized by the ability to search for technical questions or problems. Giernas' base is his home office in Poznan in western Poland. From there he keeps the WTH company on track.

For the company from Stade, the Polish market is not yet the pusher of sales growth. However, Walter Thieme is convinced that "we will generate shortly in Poland the necessary growth and our Polish business will greatly assist the company result." Revenues and earnings in Poland continuously grow disproportionately to the, German 'sales results. "But what in our sense is the generally good reputation of German companies, the German competence and a high image of all products from Germany."

That Poland for WTH in Stade is actually the future market, Walter Thieme reads cut off from the market figures. The plastics industry is on a growth path. The industry consists of 7,000 companies with 140,000 employees. Thieme: "Total revenues in 2015, according to Plastics Europe Polska at 17.2 billion Euros." Poland makes 6.5 percent of the European plastics consumption and thus is in sixth place.

"The construction sector is similar to the packaging sector for plastics applications," says Thieme. The per capita consumption of plastics in Poland is 80 kg per year, well below the European average of 94 kg. - So good prospects for the raw material supplier from Stade.