The newspaper La Vanguardia interviews to the Management of Alsina
Interview with the CEO, Jaume Alsina, and the General Director, Josep David Alsina, published in the newspaper La Vanguardia by the journalist Blanca Gispert.
Alsina mitigates the crisis
The family-owned concrete formwork business expects to have 88 million euro in revenue this year, 75% from abroad.
The crisis due to the COVID-19 pandemic has not had as strong an impact on the construction sector as the real estate crisis of 2008. Family-owned businesses such as Alsina, which specializes in the design, sale and rental of concrete formwork, are mitigating the blow thanks to their vast experience.
“Projects were paralyzed in 2020 and we recorded an 18% drop in sales, from 98 to 83 million euro. This is a much smaller percentage compared to the 80% drop recorded 12 years ago. This year, we have already recovered and expect to end the year with 88 million euro in revenue. We are keeping our EBITDA (gross margin) at 20%”, notes Jaume Alsina, the son of Jaume Alsina Oliva, the late honorary president who passed away in 2019. Jaume Alsina, the late president’s son, is the CEO and third generation directing the business, which is owned by six different branches of the family.
Among the measures to mitigate the crisis, Alsina has started reinforcing its presence abroad. “Before the crisis we launched a plan for growth in Mexico, the Philippines, Dubai and India, but we have been forced to abandon our plans in Mexico, where we only have a sales unit. Dubai has also slowed to a crawl, while India and the Philippines are working”.
The family-owned business has started to reinforce its presence in Mexico and is digitalizing through an agreement with Logicalis.
In spite of the crisis, the company remains highly internationalized. 75% of the company’s revenue comes from abroad, in particular from the United States (where it has subsidiaries in Texas and Florida), Poland and Chile. Alsina, which was founded in 1950, started its internationalization process around 2000 and, once it overcomes this latest crisis, it expects to continue growing abroad. “We are betting on Asia and we also see opportunities to acquire companies in Europe”.
During this period of crisis, the company has also decided to digitalize its operations through a partnership with the multinational technological firm Logicalis. Additionally, the company usually invests between 3% and 5% of its resources in R&D. “At present, we have 50 usable models and 50 patents that protect the formwork design”. These products function as molds for concrete structures that are used to construct buildings. The company designs them on a custom-made basis, but also has formwork models with standard measurements, which it rents out to building companies.
The production of molds (made of iron or aluminum) is subcontracted to third-party manufacturers which means that Alsina is in charge of the design, storage and sale or rental. With this business model, the company needs to be physically close to its customers, which requires an extensive network of offices. Six hundred people work in these offices, 14 of which are located throughout Spain.