Aldesa Poland is a subsidiary of the Spanish construction company Grupo Aldesa, which was founded in Madrid in 1969. The company has been operating in Poland since 2007 as a general contractor providing services to four main business lines – infrastructure, residential and industrial buildings, Energy as well as IT and technology.
Can you give an overview of Aldesa Poland and the set up you have in place here, given it is one of three strategic global markets you have chosen to focus on?
Aldesa’s first activity in Poland was to develop an A-class office building in Krakow named Diamante Plaza. This gave us a chance to experience first hand the business environment, which proved worthwhile. After these 13 years of significant activity, Poland has become one of our top-three markets alongside Mexico and Spain.
Poland is currently the largest receiver of European funds, and will continue to be so for some time. There is still important infrastructural development to do in the country, which presents many opportunities for contractors such as Aldesa.
In the energy sector, we focus primarily on renewable energy and HV transport lines. So far we have completed six wind farms and another four with 264 MW are under development. We have also completed two 400 kv double circuit lines for PSE (260 kms) and another 220 kv line. We have an established local team of approximately 300 people in Poland and we see good opportunity for growth.
The energy sector is subject to huge transformations presently, what does this bring for companies in your field?
It is indeed a time of disruption but we tend to focus on the business opportunities that are created. For us it means new possibilities but also the need to adapt continuously to satisfy the market needs.
From 2016 to 2018, in Poland there were no wind farms under execution because of the change in legislation. We were able to redeploy our team into our other business lines. However, contractors that are specialized in renewable energy found it very challenging and had to seek work in other countries.
Has the auction system been generous enough to compensate for the limitation of not being able to develop new wind farms?
Recent auctions have brought back significant activity into this sector but even so, the limitations imposed meant lost opportunities for Poland. Especially if we consider how much the country needs to grow its clean energy share.
We can see positive trends, such as solar and offshore wind being promoted. Off-shore, however, requires extended development and construction timelines. Solar is part of the solution but in a country like Poland, on-shore wind can be more competitive so I would recommend to redefine the regulatory system to allow development of new on-shore wind projects.
The recent auctions are bringing to execution the projects developed in the past but the pipeline of projects is getting dry for potential auctions in the mid future.
What are some of the most common challenges encountered by companies such as Aldesa in the Polish business environment?
Despite of Poland being a country full of talented and qualified professionals, the biggest challenge for construction companies is that, given the current size of the construction market, there is not enough well-trained man-power. I guess that authorities still need to figure out how to simplify further the procedures to bring workers from other countries otherwise it will be difficult to compete with markets such as Germany.
Based on your experience as a foreign investor in Poland, what final message do you have for potential newcomers?
Poland’s economy will continue to experience growth and the legal framework is stable and conducive to investment. Overall I believe that now is a very good time for anybody who considers joining this market.
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