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PCB | March 11, 2008

Hollmüller to keep investing in Germany

evertiq spoke to Joe Kresky, COO of Hollmüller Maschinenbau about the effect of the integration into the RENA Group, about the plant in Poland and the development in Germany and the importance of the booming solar market for the RENA group.
The Hollmüller Maschinenbau GmbH (HMS) has been integrated into the RENA Group last June. Which effect did this have on the HMS?
Both companies develop and produce wet processing solutions. However, both portfolios only touch marginally. HMS specializes in the production of PCB and Reel-to-Reel products. RENA on the other hand has specialized in the production of semi-conductors and solar cells. Both companies complement each other technologically and have a name in the market. Both will work closely in the future, but under their respective and established names. HMS will now incorporate “Member of the RENA Group” into its name. Together we will be able to establish ourselves better in the market. Feedback from our international customers tells us that they still count in the quality of HMS-equipment.

How important is the booming solar market for the RENA group?
Approximately 25% of HMS’s turnover comes from thin-layer solar technology. We will continue to manufacture these products, although they will be sold under the RENA brand. We expect to see a 35% increase in the solar section. This also means that we will need to increase our staff to approximately 1000. This will make it easier to counteract the fluctuations in the PCB-market.

HMS has opened the fifth facility in Poland in November. What significance do both companies place on the location Germany?
Germany is the ideal location for us. It is situated between the Asian and American time zones, which represents the best location for our distribution system. Additional, we can use important technical advantage. This will continue to be so for the next years. We will therefore continue to invest in German locations and technologies. We plan a new building in Herrenberg, Germany.

The new facility in Lódz, Poland manufactures components for the RENA and HMS equipment, whereas the final assembly will take place in Germany. Poland offers competitive labor costs in combination with its close vicinity to Germany. We see the same mindset, a low language barrier and no custom duties within the EU. This investment is a further step in our expansion strategy.

Do you also recognize, as many other companies do, the strong competition from China?
As I said before, Germany has a technological advantage, especially in the area of electroplating. China poses no threat, I believe. Even the often mentioned scarcity of workers is no problem for us. We have a good team and we were always able to find qualified personnel.

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