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LEONI Sets New Standards for Excellence in Romania’s Automotive Industry

LEONI Romania is one of the leading exporters in Romania and one of the top component manufacturers in the country. The company has a strong regional coverage, with 10 factories in six counties—Arad, Arges, Bihor, Bistrita-Nasaud, Gorj, and Mures—and a total production space of 180,000 square meters.

In 2022, the consolidated turnover of LEONI’s three legal entities—LEONI Arad, LEONI Pitesti, and LEONI Bistrita—reached EUR 640 million. The company’s contribution to the state budget in 2022 was over 70 million euros. LEONI works with over 2,900 local suppliers out of a total of 4,500, with which it generated a turnover of EUR 93 million in 2022, up 35% compared to the previous year. The company’s global sustainability strategy is based on three strategic directions: people, environment, and resources. This integrates solutions to environmental challenges identified as clear standards for material suppliers, environmental standards applied in over 80% of locations, increasing the amount of recycled materials the company uses year on year, increasing the production and use of green energy, improving occupational safety at all its locations, and carrying out awareness and engagement activities in local communities.

Recently, LEONI opened a new factory in Beius, which focuses on the production of classic car wiring systems. The investment in the factory reached EUR 17.5 million and it included the costs of rehabilitating a building that was reintroduced into the production circuit and the costs of the latest generation equipment. The company renovated and rehabilitated the space up to international standards. Equally important was the investment it made in the training of people—production operators, technicians, and engineers—which will make the workforce in the region better trained and more integrated in the current labour market landscape.

Business Review talked to Andrada Verdes, Country Manager at LEONI Wiring Systems Romania, to find out more about the company and the group’s activity in our country.

The Leoni Group has been present in Romania since 2000 and it has since opened several factories and even an HR centre. Why did you choose Romania for development and how much money has the company invested in the country so far?

Andrada Verdes: Indeed, the first LEONI factory opened in 1999, and today we own 10 factories in six counties: Arad, Arges, Bihor, Bistrita-Nasaud, Gorj, and Mures. Cumulatively, we have 180,000 square meters of production space, and nationally, we are among the top exporters, the largest employer in Bistrita-Nasaud, and among the largest employers in Romania, with over 12,000 active employees. We are a centre of excellence for the manufacturing of wiring harnesses and components for electric, hybrid, hydrogen, and combustion engine vehicles. We cover the whole product range, from luxury cars to trucks and agricultural machinery. We have over 23,500 different products in our portfolio and more than 2,900 local suppliers (almost 70% of the total). Additionally, our Romanian teams participate in international projects and are recognised for their know-how in developing high-voltage wiring systems for electric and hybrid cars.

In 2022, the consolidated turnover of all LEONI Romania entities was approximately EUR 640 million. The contribution to the state budget, which is reflected by taxes paid in 2022 alone, is over 70 million euros.

You’ve just inaugurated a new factory, in Beius. Why was it necessary and how will it contribute to LEONI’s operations in Romania?

The Beius plant was created out of the need to cover new or future LEONI projects in Romania, with production capacities for several commercial vehicle manufacturers. The newly opened plant is the second in Beius and it is very relevant for the local community, through its impact on the local economy. At full capacity, we will create up to 1,200 new jobs.

LEONI has brought back into use a production space that it renovated and refurbished based on international standards. Thanks to the new investment of EUR 17.5 million, we will increase the production capacity in Beius, as the new factory is three times bigger than the old one.

How is the new factory different from the existing ones and what does it bring to LEONI’s production capacities?

In the new factory in Beius, we use a state-of-the-art integrated computer system to monitor the production process, as well as equipment which is unique in Romania in the production of wiring harnesses for the automotive industry.

In terms of ESG principles, which the LEONI group already applies, how are they being implemented in the new factory in Beius and at the group level in Romania?

With a significant presence in six counties through its manufacturing operations, LEONI fully understands the responsibility of its socio-economic footprint and makes it a priority to support communities through projects dedicated to youth and adolescent development, inclusion, and sustainability.

Last month in Bistrita-Nasaud, for example, we partnered up with the National Association of the Deaf, through which we hired people with hearing impairments. In terms of youth projects, we partner up with universities and vocational schools and prepare young people for future careers in the automotive industry.

In May, we signed the Romanian Diversity Charter and committed to fostering an inclusive environment that gives the right workplace configuration so that hiring, promotion, and compensation practices are fair and impartial.

What are some trends in the automotive industry at the global and European level and what is their impact in Romania?

Romania has good potential in terms of automotive production, not only for cars but also for components. We need a national strategy to keep existing production in the country or bring in new projects. Ensuring easy access to investment finance makes a difference and turns Romania into a favourable environment for fast-paced development. The quality of our specialists, the teams we have built here, and the excellent results so far have helped us a lot in this process.

Sustainability is a strategic priority for us and our customers, and that is reflected in both the components and cars we produce and the way we make them.

We have sustainability investments planned for this year and the next. Our global ReWirestrategy integrates solutions to identified environmental challenges through clear standards for material suppliers, environmental standards applied in over 80% of our locations, increasing the number of recycled materials used year on year, increasing the production and use of green energy, improving workplace safety in all our locations, and carrying out awareness and engagement activities in local communities.

Alongside sustainability, community involvement also plays a strategic role for us. We invest in LEONI people through training programmes and seek to provide them with relevant experiences for their professional development.

That’s why we have examples of colleagues who started out their careers as production operators and in time became managers leading very large teams. We have great people on our teams, and this is a solid foundation for our future.

Source : Business Review