Company Burning In 2018, as part of Gorenje, Keramika came under the ownership of the Chinese company Hisens. Based on the business results and sales forecasts, he decided to permanently stop the production of ceramic tiles. “With energy-intensive production, such a small company in an industry that is consolidating and increasingly dominated by large manufacturers and companies from other continents cannot be competitive more on the market,” they explained.
Currently, 87 workers are employed in Gorenje Keramika, and the employer has offered all of them employment in various units of the company Burning. Production employees are expected to start working in their new positions on December 1, and the sale of inventory and equipment is expected by the middle of next year, the company stated.
Ceramic tile factory in the village Burning near Velenje was built in 1974 as part of Gorenje. For a long time it was the only Slovenian producer of ceramic tiles. It was a recognizable brand on the domestic market and the markets of South-Eastern Europe. It operated successfully by restructuring production, optimizing costs, increasing productivity and developing new types of products.
Energy-intensive production is dying due to rising energy prices
The shock for this energy-intensive production, which depends on the global conditions on the energy market, was caused by the war in Ukraine and the resulting rise in energy prices and problem supplies of raw materials. Even the largest European manufacturers had to stop part of their production lines, so that the production of ceramic tiles across Europe decreased by about 30 percent last year, they summarized.
As they explained, the price of natural gas represents 30 to 40 percent of the total production price of ceramic tiles and is a fundamental factor of profitability and competitiveness. Burning In order to optimize gas consumption, in the past, Ceramica stopped its lines in the winter months, but during the rest of the year, production was intensive and continuous.
The price of natural gas in Slovenia, which rose drastically due to the war in Ukraine, remains incomparably higher than before the war despite the reduction, and it also depends on the individual contract that the company concludes with the supplier of the energy product, whereby larger consumers have greater benefits. “Compared to large European producers and producers from other continents, whose gas prices are incomparably lower, the price of Gorenje Keramike tiles is no longer competitive,” they concluded.