By Virginia F. Bodmer-Altura
TextileFuture concludes the reporting on the Greek Textile Industry, Cotton and Spinning (Part 1 / Part 2 ) with Part 3 and two actual interviews conducted with Dimitris Polychronos, CEO Nafpaktos Yarns, Nafpaktos Textile Industry SA and John Akkas CEO from Hellenic Textile Group
Nafpaktos Textile Industry SA
The company works continuously under various legal forms since 1964, while since 24.07.2002 bears the name “
It is majorly a family owned and run business with over 20 % public shareholders.
It continues to be financially strong and independent despite the economic crisis that has hit the highest proportion of companies in Greece and beyond. It has good management, staff expertise and excellent relations with customers and partners.
Establishment: January 2, 1989 (Government Gazette 12 / 01.05.89). It is registered in the Companies Register of the Directorate of Joint Stock Companies and Credit of the Ministry of Development No. MAE 18586/06 / B / 89/22.
Key Activities sectors: textile, agricultural products, renewable energy sources.
Owned production facilities – capacity: The company has a capacity of 13000 spinning spindles (RIETER) construction 1997. The annual production capacity is 1550 tons of cotton yarn with an average daily employment 24 hours, five days a week, 11 months a year).
It also has a weaving mill with 8 looms.
Land area – Building: The buildings of the mills in Nafpaktos are covering a total surface of 20.590 m² on a land of its own property of a total area 37,900 m². The Company also owns a building in Pefki (Ag. Georgiou 40-44, Pefki, Athens 15121) surface 2.527 m² on a plot total surface of 2,560 m², which was built in 1989 and is used as offices and storage of finished products and goods. Moreover, it owns facilities in the community Oiniades Pref. Aitoloakarnanias (land area 42010.86 m² where are main and auxiliary buildings covering a total surface of 10906.65 m² and is rented in Olympia Fruit.
The company sells its products to EU countries. The percentage of export sales for 2014 is 58 % and for 2015 is expected to exceed 70 %. Main destinations are Italy, Germany, Austria, Spain and Bulgaria.
The majority of our customers are covered by credit insurance through an insurance policy with Euler Hermes.
Sales are made through selected agencies with years of experience in the textile field.
On a group level, exports amount to 80% of the total turnover (based on 2014 sales data) to destinations in countries outside the EU (Turkey and Indonesia).
The company’s spinning mills produce 100 % cotton combed yarns in titles Ne 20/1 to Ne 50/1 & carded yarns in the range Ne 12/1 to Ne 30/1. These yarns may be used in knitting or weaving.
Also, the company has the ability to deliver the above titles in:
- double yarns
- S twist
- dyeing cones
Furthermore slub yarns in Ne 12/1 to Ne 30/1 titles are produced.
The raw material used is 100 % Greek cotton of the highest quality which the company procures either from Sofades Ginning Mills subsidiary or from other gins of Thessaly or Levadia.
These yarns are free of impurities as they are checked by LOEPFE optical yarn cleaners at the winding stage and by the LOPTEX system in the blow room stage.
The technical specifications of the yarns comply with the 25% of the technical specifications of USTER statistics.
The company is awarded Oeko-Tex® Standard 100 certificate No. 73215/GR.
Dimitris Polychronos, CEO Nafpaktos Yarns and Nafpaktos Textile Industry SA is born in Athens, Greece. He has been working in the company since 1996 and holds the position of Exports and Fabric Sales Director since 1998. Board member of “SOFADON GINNING MILLS S.A.” as a President and CEO.
Here starts his interview:
- Would you please first present your company and your role in the company?
Dimitris Polychronos: “Our company has been operating for more than 50 years through different business forms and since 1989 under its current status. During this period it has passed through almost all the sectors of the textile business including ginning, spinning, weaving and manufacturing garments.
Lately, we have focused in the ginning and spinning business, where we believe Greece has advantage against its competitors.
Personally, I belong in the second generation, running the company with my brother and I am the Managing Director.”
- What is the ranking of your company, meaning the value contribution of your company within the Greek textile community?
“Talking about the spinning industry in Greece one should be reminded that only five spinning mills are still operating out of which we are one of the two smallest. As ginners we receive approximately 1,5% of the total Greek Cotton production.”
- Could you specify the company’s trade activities and the approx. turnover
“Our trade activities include cotton yarns, raw cotton and their sub-products with an annual turnover of 13-14 million euros, 85 % of which is exported. Regarding yarns, we are mainly exporting to European Union countries and regarding raw cotton we are mainly exporting to Turkey, India, Egypt etc. “
- What is the most important innovation of your company in the last five years?
“Our company has decided to make a very big downsize ten years ago, months before the economical crisis hit Greece. That has proven to be a very wise decision since the main assets of the company have been kept safe. In 2014, five years ago we have decided to come back and grow up our spinning business, a decision that seems to be quite fruitful. Of course, we had to widen our products’ range but for our company I would say the biggest innovation was the reopening of our factory.
Right now, we are studying the possibility of expanding our production of high quality cotton yarns production through an investment in new machinery that will enable us to lower the energy cost, increase our efficiency, improve our quality and take advantage of the full capacity of our premises. Moreover, by modernising our spinning business and creating economies of scale we will be on a more level playing field to our Far Eastern competitors.”
- What is the most favourable position for your company and the Greek Textile industry?
Our company’s most favourable position is linked to each robust financial structure. Nafpaktos Textile Industry S.A. is one of the very few Greek companies that can support its operations without being in need of bank loans.
It is a fact the Greek Textile Industry has suffered a lot after the January 1, 2005. Legendary companies with great history have either gone bankrupt or stopped their operations in the decade that followed. The competition from third world countries with very low salaries and the strength of euro currency against USD, have been the major reasons. Greece has been transformed from an esteemed cotton yarn exporter to one of the biggest raw cotton exporters in the world. This is, what has to be reversed, and Greece should start exporting again textile products with added value and not raw material.
Not to mention that Greece’s geographical position is perfect for servicing the European market noting that the raw material we use is on our doorstep and of excellent quantity.
- What discrimination does exist for the Greek Textile Industry and your firm in particular? (Taxes, Laws, Export, Economic conditions, etc.,etc.)
“For the time being the biggest discrimination existing in Greece in general is the taxation, direct and indirect plus the non-wage cost, which is the money added on each salary but not given to the worker.“
- Family held enterprises seem to be more successful, what is your reasoning?
“In my opinion there is no rule of how to create a successful enterprise and alike all things in life there are advantages and disadvantages in all kinds of administration structure. Companies whose management comes from a family are very much depended on the family’s relationship. If members of the family have been placed in crucial positions without a fair and objective procedure then most probably problems will occur. Transparent procedures can only protect family held enterprises when it comes to management positioning.
The main reason for a well managed family company is the knowledge of the business it is in , understanding innovation going forward and a commitment to achieving its goals. Furthermore, and in the case of our company, years of reliability and integrity have made our partners and customers want to work with us year after year.”
- Is innovation always created in-house or do you work with Universities and Institutes? Consultants? Customers?
“Innovation can only be created, when different people, with common vision, share their thoughts and take advantage of their expertise as well. Therefore, Universities and/or Institutes are required for the development of a project in order to maximize the possibility of being successful.”
- How do you recommend to a consumer that Greek textiles are the best choice?
“There are many reasons for a consumer to choose a Greek textile product, especially if it is a cotton product, but I would like to emphasize on the following three
- High quality. There have been many decades of experience in Greece in cultivating cotton, transforming it into fabric and manufacturing it into garment. Long before Asian manufacturers prevailed (based on the low cost) most of the famous European brands used to manufacture their garments in Greece.
- Produced under ethical way. There is no child labour or inhuman salary imposed to any worker in Greece either in the cultivation of the field or in the industry. This may sound normal for Europe, but it is not a common practise for many other countries.
- Environmental friendly. According to EU regulations all cotton seeds used are of the highest level and non GMO. All fertilizers and plant protection products are controlled under the strictest rules for the residual substances. Farmers are increasingly using new technologies to use water in a more efficient way.
- What do you think of sustainability in your business?
“In today’s modern world, we must all be on top of new technology, environmental issues and the care of our planet. I believe humanity should all be looking at these issues. Scientific development of seeds, in the cotton business, has seen a doubling of yield in the last 50 years in the U.S.A. noting that during the same period population has almost doubled. At the same time, man made fibers have taken market share from cotton but, as a naturally produced product, Cotton will always have its part to play going forward.
- Does your company and the Greek textile industry profit a great deal from European institutions and assisted programmes on the scientific level?
“There have been researching programmes financed by the European Union where companies can either be invited or apply to, if they can contribute with their know-how in the development of a specially required product. These deals, as much as we are informed, do support financially the companies in terms of their contribution for the program itself.”
- What are the keenest competitors of your sector and Greek textiles and why?
The main competitor of the Greek textile companies are the Turkish companies and there plenty reasons of this. Please allow me to mention some of them
- Their low cost combined with great support from their currency devaluation against Euro and U.S. Dollar
- Their proximity with European Union, the main consumer of textile products
- The subsidies, known and unknown, from the Turkish Government
- The vertical structure of many companies that allow them to export a final product .
- What is the meaning of ITMA 2019 in Barcelona for your investment decisions?
“ITMA is an exhibition taking place every 4 years, and everybody wants to be there in order to see the new trends in all kinds of textile machinery. Even if one is aware of the developments, it is always different to see new machines operating for the first time, and discuss with people from all around the world. For 2019, though we have already made our mind, we will attend the exhibition.
- Will you need buy some new equipment?
“We have been carefully studying what needs to be added (regarding new machines) in order to increase and /or diversify our product range but we have also studied what is necessary to substitute in the existing production facilities in order to improve both the climate conditions and the efficiency. In textile business, it is important to invest when new things are up or when the energy consumption is decreasing.”
TextileFuture is delighted to publish this interview and we wish to thank Mr. Polychronos for his valuable contribution.
Hellenic Fabrics S.A.
“HELLENIC FABRICS S.A.” was established in 1974 with headquarters in Thessaloniki. The company is listed in the Athens Stock Exchange since 1994. Its main activity is the production of indigo denim fabrics for blue jeans.
“HELLENIC FABRICS S.A.” is today among the three largest denim industries in Europe and the only one in Greece. The denim mill is situated in Pella, Northern Greece, has a vertical structure and an annual production capacity of 20 million metres of denim fabrics.
The Company’s vertical structure, its modern mechanical equipment, the high level of specialisation, the know-how and the 35 year experience on denim fabric, contribute to the production of fabrics with high standards and excellent quality.
A wide range of denim fabrics is produced, differing mainly in technical characteristics. Hellenic Fabrics exports 85 % of its production, mainly to Europe. Hellenic Fabrics is also a manufacturer of specialized cotton carded yarns and one of the biggest cotton ginners in Greece.
The firm has about 201-500 employees, the company was originally founded in 1975.
Here starts the interview with John Akkas, President of Hellenic Fabrics:
Would you please first present your company and your role in the company?
“It is a family owned group of companies in the cotton ginning and spinning area. We have been active in the cotton business for more than sixty years.
Thrace Spinning Mills is our flagship company producing a wide variety of yarns by using cotton grown in the area of Thrace in the North Eastern part of Greece.
I am the president of the group.“
What is the ranking of your company, meaning the value contribution of your company within the Greek textile community?
“Our group has been important for the Greek textile sector and is one of the four spinners operating in Greece today. The two ginning mills are important processors of cotton in the areas of Thrace and Thessaly.”
Could you specify the company’s trade activities and the approx. turnover
About 90 % of our production is exported. For the running year, Thrace Spinning will produce 5000 tons of yarn and 2000 tons of knitted fabrics, while the ginning mills will produce 80000 bales of cotton.
What is the most important innovation of your company in the last five years?
“The development of technical yarns, always by using cotton fibres.”
What is the most favourable position for your company and the Greek Textile industry?
We are vertical, receiving cotton from the farmers, converting it to yarn and knitted fabric.”
What discrimination does exist for the Greek Textile Industry and your firm in particular? (Taxes, Laws, Export, Economic conditions, etc.,etc.)
“Economic conditions in Greece during the last decade have had a severe impact on the availability of working capital and the growth potentials of businesses.”
Family held enterprises seem to be more successful, what is your reasoning?
“For various reasons textile companies have traditionally been family owned. We were an exception, as for thirty years until year 1999, we were in a joint venture with a leading European textile company.”
Is innovation always created in-house or, do you work with Universities and Institutes? Consultants? Customers?
“Mainly the innovation in the form of product development is a customer related process and the constantly changing market needs.
”How do you recommend to a consumer that Greek textiles are the best choice?
“Excellent locally grown cotton, long manufacturing tradition and proximity to markets.”
What do you think of sustainability in your business?
“We were the first vertical producer to introduce organic cotton production in Greece fifteen years ago. Sustainability is one of our key values, and, we are closely monitoring the production chain, from the cottonseed, and the best agricultural practices to the yarn and knitted fabric shipped to customers.”
Does your company and the Greek textile industry profit a great deal from European institutions and assisted programmes on the scientific level?
“There is a lot of work to be done in this sector. Greek companies did not utilize enough the potentials offered by EU programmes.
”What are the keenest competitors of your sector and Greek textiles and why?
“Imports at low prices and instability of the markets due to geopolitical reasons are harming the sector.”
What is the meaning of ITMA 2019 in Barcelona for your investment decisions?
“We have been attending ITMA for many years. It is the ideal place to explore all worldwide technical developments all in one site.”
Will you need buy some new equipment?
“Although our equipment is modern, we are planning future steps.”
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