^Green Cottage Ices - HOT FOR COOPERATION What'S NewS Issue 6 June 1996 working relations 3 USD) in 1992; 68 billion in 1993; 170 billion the next year; and 285 billion last year. Even taking inflation into account, this represents incredible growth. 'In the old days,' he explains, 'if we needed finance, we'd borrow privately. The banks here were extremely bureacratic. So I was pleasantly surprised when I met Dr Ladrowowski one day and started talking about our business. BRP hadn't even been launched then; it was still in the planning stage. But we made what you'd call a "gentlemen's agreement" that we would bring our business to BRP once it got off the ground.' Rabo-BRP's Tomasz Sandomierski volunteered to drive us over to the Zielona Budka factory on the outskirts of the Polish •apital and to act as interpretor. On the vay, he provided a quick run-down on the ice-maker's phenomenal growth, but waxed ever more lyrical on the quality of the product that had been a childhood favourite. Sandomierski can't remember the original Green Cottage where Zbigniew Grycan's grandfather began selling ice-cream in 1947. Tm too young for that,' he laughs, 'hut even though they'd moved to new premises, I still remember it as the best in Warsaw. IMMENSE INVESTMENT The enormous glasses of Zielona Budka ice offered by Grycan before we've even sat down prove Tomasz's childhood memories have lost nothing in the transition from 'cottage' ice-maker to major producer. 'We began industrial production in 1992, but our aim was always to keep the original ^puality,' Grycan confirms. 'It was a slow start because the investment needed was immense - at least for us it was. You need around USD 1 million to start up a single production line. But that isn't the only problem. Distribution makes or breaks you. And it also requires a lot of capital because you must have custom-built trucks In 1991, Zbigniew Grycan and his wife Elisabeth were still running a single ice-cream parlour in the centre of Warsaw. Five years later and Zielona Budka, or Green Cottage lees, is one of the top brands nationwide and the Grycans are already exporting as far afield as Siberia. One of Bank BRP's first-ever clients, Grycan and his company have high hopes of the new joint venture. POLEN BREEKT HET IJS Zielona Budka,ofwel Green Cottage lees, is een van BRP's klanten van het eerste uur. Het bedrijf startte als ijswinkel in Warschau en groeide in de loop der jaren uit tot een grote ijsfabriek met een omzet van PLZ 285 mrd. (USD 1,16 mrd.). De relatie met BRP is altijd zeer goed geweest. Kredietbeslis- singen werden binnen 24 uur genomen. Eigenaar Zbigniew Grycan hoopt dat de nieuw opgerichte joint-venture niet al te bureaucratisch zal gaan werken. for transport, and install freezers in retail outlets for your products.' EXCLUSIVE SUPPLIER In spite of the great investment involved, Grycan has managed to corner a significant domestic market share over the past three years involving an equally significant increase in employees - 300 in the season against 20 in the old days. 'We're not only in Warsaw, but also in other selected regions in Poland,' he says. 'And we've been able to gain exclusive rights to supplying Pizza Hut. At present, the factory is running a maximum capacity of 1.5 million litres a month. Poles eat only 3.5 litres of ice-cream every year against, for example, 16 litres per capita in Sweden. So the domestic Zbigniew market alone offers incredible room for expansion.' The company is also ice-cream supplier to the Polish president and council of ministers, Grycan adds with some pride. Zielona Budka's forays into the export market include Russia and the Ukraine. In fact, waiting patiently outside is a team of truck drivers. 'They're Russians,' he explains. 'They'11 be trucking out as soon as we receive Swift confirmation that the shipment has been paid for. We don't do anything with Russia unless it is prepaid.' MASSIVE GROWTH Zbigniew Grycan sounds like any other shrewd, savvy business person, yet he is the first to admit that he knew very little about banks and the kind of sophisticated financial instruments his Western counterparts take for granted. 'Because we used to be very small, there was little need for banks,' he says. But in the past three years, the company has grown dramatically - turnover was 10 billion zlotys (41 million LEARNING CURVE In fact, Zielona Budka was one of BRP's first clients. 'We've kind of grown up together,' Grycan laughs. 'We began with a small facility, but that increased rapidly. We would like to see cooperation with the bank continue as before. So far, I've had a Grycan - hoping for sophisticated products. real relationship with BRP. They know me and I know them. If I needed finance, I knew I could rely on having a decision within 24 hours. That's possible with a small bank. I won't hide from you the fact that we're concerned the new joint venture will be more bureaucratie. On the other hand, Rabobank is a Triple-A rated institution, so 1 think we're all hoping for cheaper funding here in Poland,' he grins. 'I think it's true to say I convinced the BRP people to start leasing. I'd learnt how useful that instrument can be when I first began industrial production. I think that's what I'm looking for from the new joint venture - access to the kind of sophisticated products not widety available on the Polish market. I'm talking here about new instruments but also new technologies, for example electronic banking. That could be really helpful. There is a whole learning curve for us. I think BRP's original clients are looking to the new bank to provide it.'

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