The company will hire another 100 people this year for its second factory
The car headlights manufacturing company Odelo Bulgaria, which is part of the Turkish holding Bayraktarlar, will transfer the production of spare parts for headlights from Germany to their second plant near Plovdiv, which is currently under construction. The manufacturing lines for the spare parts are currently installed in the first factory, which has been operating since the autumn of 2019, but they will be moved to the new one, where production will be expanded with more equipment and workers. Only the serial production of lights will remain in the current plant, and the Bulgarian company will take over a significant part of this activity from the Slovenian plant of Odelo in Prebold, the company told “Capital”. In 2021, many new projects are launched for various clients, with exports traditionally to Europe, but also to the United States and China. The manufacturing is for the 20 largest car companies in the world, and the main customer remains Mercedes. The Odelo portfolio also includes BMW, Volkswagen, Renault, Audi, Skoda, Ford, Porsche and Bentley.
The new factory
The construction of the new manufacturing plant of “Odelo” is entrusted to “Mix Construction”, and is expected to be completed in October, and will then be equipped. The manager of “Odelo” Ugur Yozai explained that the building will be located on a plot of 17 000 sq. m., with a built-up area of nearly 13 000 sq. m. For comparison – the current factory has a built-up area of 23,881 sq.m. However, the company bought a rather large plot of land – nearly 92 decares, with the idea to build manufacturing premises for its suppliers at the next stage. In 2021, Odelo plans to invest 4.5m euros in the construction of the new factory and another 1.3m euros in machinery, with additional funds planned for next year. The total investment is about 7.3m euros, and the financing is provided entirely by the holding. Part of the assembly lines for the new factory are still working in manufacturing and the team is currently training on them. “Apart from the machines we expect from Germany, we will also buy a crane for transporting the dies and storage equipment,” Yozai said.
In order to sell its headlights on the world markets, Odelo has international certificates and standards, which will also be followed in the new direction of the business – spare parts for headlights. The most important certificate for the company is IATF 16949, which is required by many car manufacturers in the world. Odelo also has a certificate that allows it to manufacture and export products to China. Apart from the certificates, each client of the company makes his own audit of the factory in Plovdiv, where headlights are manufactured for them.
“We are currently shipping our products to Germany, and from there it goes to South Africa, where there is a Mercedes factory. At the end of 2021, we will start exporting to Renault Dacia in Romania. In 2022 and 2023, we will export directly to China and America. Currently Bayraktarlar’s warehouse in Mexico is being used by the holding’s Chinese company. The end goal is for us to export from Bulgaria directly to end users in America,” Yozai commented.
Odelo’s revenues in 2019, which was the first year of its activity, are 4.7m euros. In just one year, they increased 2.5 times and reached 11.9 million euros in 2020. The plans for 2021 are sales to reach 23.9 million euros and to continue rising, with 91.9 million euros expected in 2025. The psychological limit of 100 million euros will most likely be crossed in 2026.
Due to the expansion of the manufacturing, the company is increasing its staff, with plans are to hire more than 100 people this year. As of March 2021, nearly 240 people work at Odelo. The number of employees is expected to increase every year, and in 2025 their number should reach 612 workers and specialists. “We are currently intensively offering jobs and hiring new workers, looking for machine operators, electricians, mechanics, maintenance technicians and electricians for Plovdiv, as well as software and hardware engineers for our development team in Sofia. It is important that the company’s revenue pace will continue to outpace the growth rate of the staff we hire, or in other words, the extensive increase in staff”, commented Dimo Nikolov, Human Resources Manager.
All new employees start their careers with introductory training and training for their future position, which ends with a mandatory test. “This is what we demand – our customers demand it. They want to make sure that the people who make the car headlights are well trained and qualified. In addition, our customers demand and check that we do not use child labor, that there is no discrimination, there should be no gray part of the salary “, said Nikolov. He added: “We have the same expectations of companies that are our subcontractors and suppliers – we also audit them. This creates a chain that makes the market predictable and those working in this chain – secure in terms of work, pay and social conditions.” says Nikolov. According to him, “Odelo” gives competitive salaries, as the demand for good workers and specialists is strong. In the manufacturing unit, for example, employees receive a salary above the average for the Plovdiv region, which according to NSI data for the first quarter is BGN 1289 (gross).
Photos: Mihail Vanchev