Klaipėda FEZ awarded as the most responsible company in the city

The Klaipėda FEZ management company was awarded the main prize of the Klaipėda Industrialists Association (KPA) – “The Most Responsible KPA Company 2021”. The decision by KPA was mainly influenced by the Klaipėda FEZ community’s sustainability and environmental decisions, financial results, partnerships with the city communities, and various support projects.

KPA, which brings together businesses in the port city, noted Klaipėda FEZ’s partnership with the city’s communities through the development of the Klaipedoskvapas.lt initiative and support for projects initiated by the communities themselves. Also, initiatives such as the expansion of transport, pedestrian and cycling infrastructure, the implementation of information systems, cutting-edge communication technologies, smart meters, the territory’s greening programme, sustainability policy were commended by KPA.

The association also acknowledged the contribution of more than 40 FEZ investors to numerous strategic sustainability objectives. One of the more striking examples are solar energy projects: 2MW of new power plants are expected to be installed in FEZ companies this year, more than doubling the existing solar energy infrastructure.

In awarding the main prize, the KPA also noted the FEZ’s blood donation campaigns, promotion of business and science partnerships, talent development, and other activities.

According to KPA president Egidijus Mockus, the Klaipėda FEZ business community has demonstrated the best business, management and social practices and strong results since its establishment 20 years ago.

“However, we cannot overlook and underestimate the FEZ’s recent breakthrough in the sustainability and social spheres. This is a great strength for our city, it builds trust, deepens existing partnerships, and opens up opportunities for new ones,” said Mr Mockus.

And according to Povilas Vasiliauskas, chairman of the board of Klaipėda FEZ, the award comes at a difficult time for our Ukrainian brothers and us, and so he invited the city community to use the achievements of the past to build a safer, more peaceful, and in every sense more sustainable future.

“I am happy that we are noticed and appreciated by the KPA community, and I would like to use this moment of honour to invite our city’s businesses to continue to help those who need it most, whether through their work, resources, knowledge, job opportunities or other means. Thanks to the joint efforts of the past, we have reached a point where we can really come together to help. So that we can celebrate and rejoice again at the next event,” said Mr Vasiliauskas.

This year’s competition was open to all 53 KPA members. The nominees were selected based on 8 evaluation criteria: growth in turnover, number of employees, average salary, employee incentives, environmental protection measures, participation in city life and charity, and student internships.

Other nominations in the awards went to UAB Techvitas, Averus Law Firm and AB Klaipėdos Energija.

Klaipėda FEZ is one of Lithuania’s largest and most successful free zones. The area is home to 45 companies with investor status from 18 countries and over 100 other businesses. The FEZ employs almost 6,000 people, and preliminary data show that the total turnover of FEZ investors will again exceed €1 billion in 2021.Back to news & events

Smart warehouses planned for Klaipėda FEZ

The Klaipėda Free Economic Zone Management Company has signed an agreement with UAB SVS on the lease of a plot of land at Pramonės g. 18 and investments in it. As a result, a smart warehousing service Smart Box will launch in the area by next year at the latest.

The new investor plans to develop the site in several phases. The company is currently working on a design proposal for a 4,900 sqm building, with a preliminary plan to develop a two-storey warehouse building of around 1,400 sqm in the first phase of development, providing short- and long-term storage services to residents and businesses.

“We are still refining the service details, but we plan to offer the market a digitally-controlled smart storage service for items, goods, or equipment. We are monitoring the development of this type of services in other Lithuanian cities and abroad – the demand is obvious, but different markets have their own specificities. The facilities we are developing will offer a range of sizes of storage space for both residents and small businesses, from a few to several dozen square metres. In addition, the facilities will include state-of-the-art security and modern heating and ventilation systems, which will also allow the storage of a wide range of seasonal items without damage. In other words, it will be clean, safe, comfortable, and tailored to each client’s individual needs,” comments Darius Juozapavičius, the director of SVS.

According to him, the demand for such a service is driven by the shrinking size of homes, the increasing amount of holiday accommodation in seaside resorts, and various leisure and other trends.

The first phase of the development will involve an investment of around EUR 1 million. The company has obtained the official status of Klaipėda FEZ investor. Subject to smooth procedures, the company intends to start construction this summer and to open the building at the end of the year or early next year. By then, the physical and digital infrastructure will have been developed.

“With the significant improvement in transport links to the Klaipėda FEZ last year, we believe that this area is ideal for providing services to residents. Furthermore, it is very well connected to the southern part of the city, where there is a high concentration of apartment buildings. At the same time, we also see demand for smaller-scale and shorter-term warehousing services without long-term commitments among the business community of hundreds of companies in the Klaipėda FEZ,” comments Mr Juozapavičius.

According to Eimantas Kiudulas, head of Klaipėda FEZ, the new investment is significant in several respects – it will become another service-oriented facility in the area with virtually no environmental footprint, and it will also provide for smart solutions, which are increasingly relevant for the FEZ business community.

“For some time now, retail, distribution, and customer service companies have been successfully operating in our territory, so the Smart Box is a consistent continuation of this process, demonstrating the Klaipėda FEZ’s growing connection with the city and surrounding areas. Furthermore, we believe that the company’s innovative service will bring new experience and technologies to the Klaipėda FEZ business community and will further strengthen our modern business competencies,” says Mr Kiudulas.

Arginta Engineering invests in the Panevezys FEZ

By 2023, Arginta Engineering UAB intends to construct, in the Panevėžys free economic zone, a factory with up to 100 jobs in the first development stage and with up to 300 in the following few years. New jobs will be created for programmable machine operators, welders and production workers of other professions as well as apprentices. 

EUR 15 million are planned to be invested in the construction of the new factory including EUR 5 million in Stage 1. Three development stages are projected. The estimated area of Arginta Engineering’s factory is 15,000 square metres. Modern production, office and amenity premises will be fitted out.

For the convenience of employees, a new parking lot for both conventional and electric cars, with charging stations for the latter, will be provided at the factory. 

The company has stated that the new production building will be used for the manufacture of intermediate products to be supplied to factories in Finland and Vilnius where finished products will be assembled and tested. Equipment produced by the company will be continued to be designed in Vilnius. 

Arginta Engineering provides the services of producing equipment and machines for world-renowned companies. Approx. 400 people are employed by the factories in Lithuania and Finland. On completion of all the development phases, internal production processes will be optimised and the estimated total turnover of both factories should reach EUR 60 million. 

An important NEO GROUP’s patent

UAB NEO GROUP, a PET producer operating in Klaipėda FEZ, has received a patent from the European Patent Organisation for the technology of chemical recycling of secondary PET packaging developed by the company’s researchers and engineers. This achievement will strengthen NEO GROUP’s market position, contribute to the company’s and the entire PET ecosystem’s sustainability aspirations, and further enhance the image of Klaipėda FEZ as a centre of research, innovation and excellence.

The core of NEO GROUP’s invention, which has been under intensive development since 2019 and has been commercially applied since the beginning of last year, consists in the return to production and preparation of raw material flakes from collected post-consumer packaging by means of soft glycolysis. This technology already allows the production of new PET pellets to use around 25% post-consumer raw material without compromising the quality of the final product, and NEO GROUP intends to increase the share of post-consumer PET to 50% in the future.

NEO GROUP’s technology is unique in the world as it is one of the first commercially implemented chemical plastics recycling technologies on the market. Until now, the mechanical recycling technologies on the market have only been able to use extremely clean used packaging and have had limited ability to remove contaminants, impurities and other additives from the plastic.

Ruslanas Radaevas, CEO of NEO GROUP, says that the company’s technology contributes to the EU’s sustainability and circular economy ambitions in at least several ways. First of all, the invention allows the use of raw materials from used packaging in the PET production process and significantly reduces the amount of fossil raw materials. In addition, NEO GROUP’s purification and preparation technology will allow plastics to be recycled an unlimited number of times, opening the door to a truly circular economy. Finally, the PET raw material based on NEO GROUP’s invention does not require any new technologies, processes or investments in the customer’s factories – the sustainable pellets can be incorporated into existing lines, and the quality parameters of the resulting packaging will not be different from that of a conventional (primary) raw material.

“Thanks to our technology, we have already produced and successfully delivered NEOPET CYCLE pellets with 25% recycled content to customers. In addition, customer feedback has been excellent: the high quality of the pellets results in a final product with parameters almost identical to primary PET”, says Radaevas.

In addition to the research team, the NEO GROUP’s technology development is supported by a number of other specialists, including equipment operators, process control operators and engineers, and production support staff. According to Radajevas, the patent itself is a confirmation of the ideas, uniqueness and competence of the Klaipėda team at the highest level, and it will also allow the company to strengthen its market position.

It will become a business card

According to Eimantas Kiudulas, the head of Klaipėda FEZ, along with many other positive aspects, the achievement of NEO GROUP sends a strong signal to Lithuanian and foreign talents and investors.

“This patent is official proof that Klaipėda’s talents create and commercialise world-class innovations. I remember the beginnings of NEO GROUP very well – almost two decades ago, the company came to manufacture, but very quickly became convinced of the potential of our city’s creators and started to research and develop sustainable product technologies. So today’s news is the clearest proof that Klaipėda is the perfect combination of efficient production and the development of products or processes with the highest added value. Moreover, the case of NEO GROUP is ideally suited to Klaipėda’s clean and blue economy strategic directions,” comments E. Kiudulas.

According to him, Klaipėda FEZ has been actively working for some time now to strengthen science and business partnerships, to encourage talents to choose technical and engineering specialties, and develop various knowledge and competence exchange initiatives.

“The achievement of NEO GROUP becomes a kind of our business card. Young people will have an ideal illustration of engineering specialties and job opportunities in Klaipėda. For investors, the message is also clear – the company is generating production in the hundreds of millions of euros. With the help of the city’s talents, it is creating and commercialising unique technologies on the same premises,” says the FEZ Manager.

THERMOWOOD PRODUCERS EMERGING IN KAUNAS FEZ

With the current supply disruption, the main thermowood traders in Lithuania, UAB Brolis Timber, have not hesitated to turn towards production: during this year, the first certified thermowood factory will be built in the Kaunas Free Economic Zone (FEZ). Its production volumes should meet the needs of the country’s consumers.

UAB Brolis Timber specializes in environmentally friendly timber products for homes and landscaping. Since its inception in 2007, the company has tested and introduced to the market a variety of modified timbers. However, due to practically proven advantages, sales focus gradually shifted to  Thermowood® which has organically developed into a dominant part of their offered assortment.

“When we started working with thermowood, we saw it as a niche product. This approach has changed over time − we have acknowledged its functional properties, and the general market awareness for sustainability has increased immensely. Thermowood® grew into our most important product range, accounting for more than 80% of the assortment,” says Ingrida Vizbaraitė, CEO and co-owner of Brolis Timber.

In the last decade, Brolis Timber has become the main supplier of thermowood in Lithuania. Wood processed only with heat and steam, without any chemicals, becomes extremely durable and stable, its thermal resistance improves, and no resin remains. According to thermowood producers, due to these characteristics, it is an excellent nature-friendly alternative to exotic wood species.

The company has timber stores, located in the major cities of Lithuania − Vilnius, Kaunas, and Klaipėda. They offer variety of outdoor and indoor cladding, decking, oak flooring, and complimentary products, while Kaunas-based production and warehouse center carries out wood planing, brushing and coating. Export comprises 22% of the volume.

Despite supply challenges and other adverse global factors, Brolis Timber has grown with momentum in recent years, reaching as high as 81% in 2021.

“With growing demand for wood, the capacity of our suppliers − thermowood manufacturers − has become insufficient. They chose strategically most potential markets, significantly and unpredictably increasing prices, and cancelling contracts. We have been forced to urgently diversify supply, constantly address difficult situations with our customers due to shortages or delays. Paradoxically, this critical situation has only increased our concentration and creativity, and we have decided to start producing ourselves. This decision is probably the most organic development of our activities. In Lithuania we do not have a certified production of this type, one that could offer competitive products to both the Lithuanian and export markets,” says Mrs. Vizbaraitė.

Due to convenient infrastructure, tax incentives, and opportunities for further development, Brolis Timber chose their land lot in Kaunas FEZ. Here, in a rented area of 0.9 ha, by the end of this year a complex of approximately 2,500 m2 will be built: thermo treatment chambers and stick & stacking facilities, as well as two raw material and finished product storage warehouses. In total, more than €6 million is being invested into this project, which is the largest investment in the company’s history.

The main production will be fully automated. Therefore, in the first phase, the company plans to employ only five new employees − two of them with engineering qualification.

The initial production capacity will reach 12,000 m3 of thermowood annually − almost as much as the sales volume in 2021. At the next stage, the intended production line will reduce the need for preparatory manual work, and there are plans to install a solar park on the buildings.

As the company’s CEO says, own production will undoubtedly open new opportunities for export. However, in the beginning, the production capacity will barely meet the existing needs. Therefore, growth will lead to unavoidable expansion of production, which is already being planned but has not been announced yet.

This is already the fourth wood and furniture industry company based in the Kaunas FEZ territory: in 2019, one of the most modern furniture factories in Lithuania, Geras baldų fabrikas, owned by Freda, was opened here; in 2018, UAB Fitsout, which provides furniture and interior solutions for businesses, started its activities; for many years, the bathroom furniture manufacturers UAB Kamė have been operating here.

Currently, Kaunas FEZ has attracted 46 foreign and local investors applying advanced technological solutions and developing innovative products. From the first investor in 2005 to today, the territory of Kaunas FEZ created more than 6,200 jobs and attracted more than €1 billion in direct investment.

UAB Esco Medical Technologies invests in the Kaunas FEZ

UAB Esco Medical Technologies, a manufacturer of equipment for fertility clinics and laboratories, is investing about 16 million euro at the Kaunas Free Economic Zone (Kaunas LEZ), where it will build a production facility. The facility is planned to house production and administrative functions in a 7,700-sq.-m. building. Construction is planned to start in the first half of this year. The company produces laminar flow benches (workstations) and fume hoods for laboratories, and incubators for fertility clinics. The company purchases from Lithuanian and Chinese suppliers the components needed to manufacture the equipment. After completing the expansion at the Kaunas LEZ, the company will annually produce about 120 laminar flow benches (workstations) as well as 200–300 incubators.

UAB Esco Medical Technologies has been operating in Kaunas for 10 years, and at present has 75 employees. After the new facility is built, it is planned to hire an additional 10 employees.

Aside from the production and office space, the UAB Esco Medical Technologies facility will also include exhibition space, an exercise area and wellness rooms.

The main shareholder of UAB Esco Medical Technologies is the Singapore-based Esco Technologies, a part of the life science company Esco. Esco creates medical equipment for diagnosis and treatment.

Elme Metall to start development of metal processing plant on the largest Klaipėda FEZ site this year

Elme Metall, a company belonging to the Estonian industrial holding BLRT Grupp, plans to start construction of a modern metalworking complex on a 7.6 ha plot in the Klaipėda Free Economic Zone (FEZ) this year. This will be the largest plot developed in the history of the FEZ.

After announcing a EUR 20 million investment project in the Klaipėda FEZ at the end of 2019, Elme Metall is steadily implementing it. Last year, the company completed a state-of-the-art complex for the storage and distribution of metal products. This year, it is planning to start the most important phase of the project – a EUR 17 million metal processing plant. Upon completion of the latter, Elme Metall will employ around 150 professionals in the Klaipėda FEZ buildings.

According to Algerd Andruškevitšus, a Elme Metall board member, the company is currently designing the production complex, which is expected to become the largest sheet and profile rolled metal processing plant in the Baltics.

“Upon completion of the last phase, our Klaipėda facility will be able to process around 50,000 tonnes of sheet and profile rolled metal per year. We plan to supply customers in shipbuilding, ship repair, equipment manufacturing and other sectors. The excellent location of Klaipėda will allow us to increase the efficiency of order fulfilment in our Baltic, Scandinavian, Polish, German, Dutch and other markets,” comments Mr Andruškevitšus.

He said that special attention is being paid to cleaner production and environmental technologies in the development of the plant. With the smooth progress of the preparatory processes, the actual construction of the complex is expected to start in the second half of this year.

Klaipėda and the Klaipėda FEZ were chosen by the company several years ago after evaluating a number of different locations, and the Lithuanian port city proved to be the most attractive due to its suitable infrastructure, excellent logistics and the constructive approach of the FEZ management company. The company also appreciated the competences of the Klaipėda residents. The warehousing unit currently employs about 15 specialists, but once the plant is completed, it will provide jobs for about 150 employees.

According to Eimantas Kiudulas, the head of Klaipėda FEZ, the expansion of Elme Metall is exceptional because it will be carried out on the largest plot in the history of the FEZ. On the other hand, the company’s investment further strengthens the portfolio of higher value-added production. Furthermore, it illustrates the attractiveness of Klaipėda FEZ for various activities – not only production but also logistics, distribution, trade, etc.

“We are pleased that the company is consistently adhering to its plans and, thanks to the city authorities, smoothly implementing the preparatory processes. I hope that after the completion of the development, the story of Elme Metall will be another example of smooth and sustainable investment development in Klaipėda,” says Mr Kiudulas.

The Elme Metall group employs around 500 people in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Finland, Poland and Russia. Last year, the consolidated turnover of the Elme Metall group amounted to more than EUR 230 million.

Klaipėda FEZ to double its solar capacity this year

Companies operating in the Klaipėda Free Economic Zone plan to install at least 2 MW of solar power plants by 2022. This will double the capacity of the plants installed in the FEZ so far. The companies say they planned these investments before the recent energy crisis, and the market situation may further encourage a turn to solar.

Companies operating in the Klaipėda FEZ have already been active solar energy consumers. At the end of 2021, the largest 1 MW solar plant on the territory was installed by PET producer NEO GROUP, another polymer company Orion Global PET already had a 356kW plant on its roof and fence, Vingės Logistika is using a 90kW plant on its buildings, and architectural glass producer Glassbel has been using its factory facade for some time now as an experimental test site for the company’s production of small, around 100kW, solar modules.

Until the beginning of this year, the total installed solar capacity at the Klaipėda FEZ companies was about 1.546 MW, but this figure is expected to more than double during the course of the year.

This year, the fish products company Espersen Lietuva is planning to join the solar power “club” with 500 kW, Orion Global PET is already building an additional 980 kW plant, NEO GROUP is preparing a new 500 kW plant on the ground, another 100 kW is planned for the new warehouse by Vingės Logistika, and many more companies in the area are considering, but have not yet formally confirmed, their plans for solar power plants.

In total, 2.08 MW of new solar power plants are expected to be installed in the Klaipėda FEZ business community in 2022, bringing the total installed capacity of the territory to over 3.5 MW. For comparison, according to Litgrid data, the total installed capacity of solar power plants in Lithuania as a whole is around 169 MW.

UAB NEO GROUP, which operates the largest power plant in the FEZ, comments that the development of alternative energy was launched primarily to reduce the environmental footprint of their operation and to produce more sustainable products. However, it is clear that such an investment is very worthwhile in today’s environment.

“We have had a biofuel boiler plant for our heating needs since 2015 and have been buying 100% renewable electricity from the grid for years. These projects are proving to be very successful, and we are planning two more this year: a new 20 MW biofuel boiler plant and a 500 kW solar power plant. Unlike our first rooftop plant, the new one will be installed on the ground,” says Ruslanas Radajevas, the head of NEO GROUP.

Meanwhile, according to Aušra Karalienė, the head of Vingės Logistika, it is now more evident than ever that these investments are paying off and that the company’s experience will be useful for further development of solar energy projects.

“Solar energy has not been a fad for some time – it has paid off in real terms, simply because the power plants in the companies still meet a relatively small amount of electricity demand. However, experience is gained from operating the plants, and the figures so far and the market conditions today should encourage further development of these solutions,” comments Ms Karalienė.

Eimantas Kiudulas, the CEO of Klaipėda FEZ, is pleased with the planned development of corporate solar energy projects, which contributes to the sustainability goals of the entire business community. He said that the FEZ management company is constantly communicating with companies about renewable energy projects, looking for and showing them the opportunities for their use.

“Solar energy is not only about sustainability but also about practical considerations. The current market situation should encourage businesses to further develop and invest in various renewable energy sources. As a FEZ management company, we are also looking for opportunities to install a solar power plant on the roof of our FlexStart Two building in the near future, as well as for future projects,” says Mr Kiudulas.

DOVISTA is to make an investment of EUR 5.5 million in its factory in The Baltic FEZ

Window and door manufacturer DOVISTA is to make an additional investment of EUR 5.5 million in its factory operating in the Marijampolė FEZ. ​

At present, the factory employs 340 workers from Marijampolė and other municipalities. It is planned that when this stage of development is completed, it will hire 250 new staff here. DOVISTA takes special care of the well-being of its employees, offering excellent working conditions and competitive salaries.​

The construction of DOVISTA’s factory in Marijampolė began back in 2017, with its manufacturing operations gaining momentum in the autumn of 2018. The volume of output has been growing confidently year on year resulting in over 200,000 windows and doors having been manufactured to date. ​

DOVISTA seeks to become one of the European market leaders in its field. And its investments that will help optimise the entire organisation’s supply chain will play a significant role in achieving this goal.​

The basis for further growth lies in the recent acquisitions of new brands by the DOVISTA Group in Germany, Switzerland, Slovakia and Poland. ​

It has EUR 5.5 million worth of investment planned for the Marijampolė FEZ, which will include the improvement of existing processes and acquisition of new equipment. Output volumes are to increase, and it is planned to start manufacturing new products, too. The new equipment will be installed in existing buildings with the total area of 22,800 sq m. When the project is implemented, the factory will boast a capacity of over 200,000 windows and doors per year. ​

DOVISTA’s windows and doors will continue to be exported to Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Germany and Great Britain.  

Pon.Bike – an important investor in the Kėdainiai FEZ

The Kėdainiai Free Economic Zone will have the world’s leading bicycle manufacturer Pon.Bike launch a new factory in 2024. 

It will manufacture high-end Gazelle, Kalkhoff, FOCUS and Urban Arrow bicycles there.

The production centre is expecting to hire around 300 staff in the first year, with the employee number going up to as many as 500 in the future. 

Pon.Bike has secured its leading position in the global market thanks to the takeover of Dorel Sports. Dorel Sports owns the world class Cannondale brand.

In the recent months, the company has focused greatly on the building and development of its new plants in the Netherlands (Dieren) and Germany (Emstek). It was no accident that Lithuania has been chosen as yet another country for investment. It was down to its convenient geographical location, logistics solutions, ease of doing business, as well as skilled and motivated workforce. The Kėdainiai FEZ will also offer Pon.Bike a well-developed excellent infrastructure along with favourable tax and legal incentives. 

Pon.Bike was incorporated in the Netherlands back in 2011 following the acquisition of the premium bike manufacturer Royal Dutch Gazelle. At present, Pon.Bike develops and manufactures bicycles by various brands such as Kalkhoff, Focus, Cervélo, Santa Cruz, Urban Arrow, BBB Cycling and others.

The company’s bikes are sold across Europe, Australia, North America and Asia. 

Good luck launching in Lithuania!

© LAFEZ visos teisės saugomos 2021