Kofama strives for the economic zone

Koźle based Machine Manufacturing Plant KOFAMA strives for inclusion of its site in the Katowice Special Economic Zone. It would be a strong trump card for the Company in its negotiations with prospective investors.

A cellulose and paper mill in the past, subsequently state-owned machine manufacturing plant; today, a private company still operating in the industry. KOFAMA hopes for rapid development once the Company has entered the economic zone.

In January, a meeting attended by the President of the town Tomasz Wantuła, its advisor for Commune economic development affairs Bogdan Tomaszek and KOFAMA’s President was held in the Municipal Office of Kędzierzyn-Koźle; the meeting was devoted to the efforts aiming at including the Company in the Katowice Special Economic Zone as well as the support to be provided by the municipal authorities. The Zone is already present in Kędzierzyn-Koźle. Several years ago, the so-called southern field, i.e. a large investment area on the industrial site in Blachownia was included in the Zone. Nevertheless, so far we have been unable to attract any, even minor, investors to our zone. However, the municipal authorities have their contacts in the Katowice Special Economic Zone and can support KOFAMA in its efforts to become its part.

“We are searching for opportunities for social and economic revitalisation of Koźle Port. Development of KOFAMA, which has always been the main employer in this part of the town, would also translate into development of Koźle Port, which is very important to us. Inclusion of KOFAMA in the economic zone would certainly make it more attractive in the eyes of prospective investors and by the same token would ensure additional capital, which could be allocated to rapid development. The economic zone might also result in appearance of entirely new companies in Koźle Port,” says Bogdan Tomaszek.

On the site currently occupied by KOFAMA, there was a major European paper and cellulose mill in the past, and the current machine manufacturing plant has operated for over fifty years. Two years ago, the state-owned company was privatised. During the period of peak prosperity, KOFAMA employed approximately 1,200 workers, which made it the major employer in town. At this time, the payroll includes slightly over 100 names. The plant renders machining services, manufactures machine elements as well as its own machines and equipment used, among others, in the mining industry. At the time of privatisation, KOFAMA was on the verge of bankruptcy. Since then, the new owner has managed to quadruple the Company’s turnover and make it profitable.

“We have already held initial negotiations with the owners of the Katowice Special Economic Zone regarding inclusion of KOFAMA. Now, we have to present a reliable development plan, including our capital expenditure. If this is successful, KOFAMA may become a part of the special economic zone. Obviously, this will not happen overnight, as the entire procedure is quite lengthy,” emphasises KOFAMA’s President Adam Konopka.

Regaining the previous prosperity will not be possible without substantial investments, which might be made by a major investor, perhaps a foreign one. By entering the special economic zone, from the purely business perspective, we will become a much more attractive business partner for prospective investors. The zone embodies a number of measurable preferences. In the event KOFAMA managed to return to its previous prosperity, the whole Koźle-Port District would benefit.

Initially, it was planned that the special economic zone, apart from the Kofama’s site, might encompass the devastated port area in Koźle as well as the adjacent areas, but in practice inclusion of this land in the Katowice Special Economic Zone might be impossible, as the town has failed to develop the southern field in Blachownia. The Managing bodies of the Katowice Special Economic Zone are not too fond of the idea. The final decision regarding inclusion of KOFAMA in the economic zone will be made by the Council of Ministers. Perhaps, the issue will have been decided by the end of this year.