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  • Foto del escritorThe Corporate Reviews

Dariusz Grzeszczak

Founder & CEO of Erbud Group

 

Could you describe ERBUD Group to our international readers?


How many pages can this interview have? Because I can talk about it for hours. 


Let me put it another way, then: what do we need to know about ERBUD?


We are the largest construction group in Poland that does not belong to international holdings. We have been in business for over 33 years, we employ 3,000 people, 24% of whom are women. Our annual turnover is approximately 900 milion euros. We have branches and companies in Poland, Germany and Lithuaniaand we carry out projects in Belgium, France, Norway, and the Netherlands. We conduct over 130 investments a year. We build large buildings (like Galeria Młociny - the largest shopping center in Poland with an area of 230,000 m2), but also small ones (like DESA Unicum - the most important Polish auction house). We build high buildings (like Hi Piotrkowska - the tallest office building in Łódź, approx. 90 m), low buildings (like the ICE tunnel between Cologne and Bonn) and even lower ones (like expressways). I warned you, it can take a while…


We build ecologically - our specialty is wind and photovoltaic farms. We built the first zero-emission waste incineration plant in Poland, we entered modular timber construction - our start-up MOD21 has already implemented three projects in Germany. The ERBUD Wspólne Wyzywania Foundation has been operating in our company for over 8 years, we sponsor the largest student e-sports league in Poland, we are among the best employers in the world according to Forbes as one of only six Polish companies. It's a great success because people have always been the most important to me.


How has ERBUD developed over the years?


We are a bit of the history of Polish capitalism in a nutshell - when the Berlin Wall was falling and the free market was being born, we started in a small house in my hometown of Toruń. After a few years, we opened an office in Germany, where we mainly did shell construction. Suddenly, a handful of employees turned into a whole crowd, and from just a few projects a year we became a leader. In 2007, we entered the Warsaw Stock Exchange. We have always been looking for ways to diversify, so after the construction boom before Euro 2012, we were the first to enter the renewable energy construction industry, which took us to the stock exchange again - in 2021 ONDE, our largest subsidiary, debuted on the stock exchange.


What does ONDE do?


We build every third windmill in Poland. At the same time, we were developing the service for industry, also in Germany - in 2018 we bought IVT in Oberhausen, in 2021 IKR in Bitterfeld from the giant Bilfinger. In autumn 2022, we had a grand opening for our large-scale factory of modular buildings, MOD21, which was attended by, among others, our friend, Prof. Joachim Schellnhuber from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Research. In June this year, we were visited by the German Minister for Construction, Mrs. Klara Geywitz. Today we are greatly diversified, we stand on these four strong legs: volume, renewable energy, service and modules.


Can you tell us more about your other projects, such as MOD21?


MOD21 is perfectly tailored to modern needs. The construction industry is responsible for almost 40% of CO2 emissions. The European Union is looking for ways to reduce this indicator. One of them is wooden construction, which we discussed, among others, in Rome at the intimate workshop “Reconstructing for the future” with Ursula von der Leyen. In the company of NGOs and think-tanks from around the world, we wanted to focus on the topic of changing the construction industry. MOD21 has an excellent future ahead of it.


When it comes to the housing shortage in the European Union, especially in Germany, what impact does it have on society and the way of life?


Housing shortage is a problem in many developed European countries. We wonder why the fertility rate is falling, and it is often related to economic stabilization, which is, however, guaranteed by having your own home. In Poland, we have a very high homeownership rate. Currently, apartments are selling at a rapid rate, even though money is expensive - we have high interest rates, so loans are expensive. In Germany, we are observing the suspension of many residential investments, despite high demand. This is a certain market paradox.


What is the solution to this problem? Do you think some regulations regarding modular construction should be changed?


Of course. Subsidies for modular builders, tax breaks for those who build in a  low-emission manner, i.e. modular. Thanks to us, apartments can be built quickly, which, for example, blocks city centers for a shorter time. Although in our case residential construction itself is not the most important sector  - our main focus lies on public facilities, such as schools, kindergartens, clinics, offices. We have three successful projects behind us in Germany - in the first one, a nursery in Eisingen near Stuttgart, children have been playing and learning since September, and the customers are very satisfied with the use of this building.

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