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New Management Team Successfully Restructuring the Biggest Georgian Infrastructure Company-New Energy

Published: October 10, 2011 | 12:37 pm
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General Director: “We’re not a company that you can relate to any other company in Georgia. New Energy has become a very unique company, which has a vision of becoming even better.”

The COMMERCIAL TIMES

New Energy, the leading construction company in Georgia, has set new plans for future expansion with the new management on board. Local market leader keeps strong focus on large-scale road and infrastructure projects. New Energy’s employers are mostly government organizations as well as big private companies engaged in gas and oil sector.

“We plan, design and construct facilities that improve everyday life:  roads, gas pipelines, oil pipelines, storm water nets, water treatment plants. We build Georgian infrastructure for the better life of our citizens and we are proud of it’’ – said Georgy Vachnadze, General Director of New Energy.

Several months ago Mr. Vachnadze left Spain, where he lived and worked for the past years, and arrived in Georgia together with his family. The COMMERCIAL TIMES interviewed new General Director of New Energy regarding the company’s future development strategy with the new team.

- Prior to becoming the General Director of New Energy you lived and worked in Spain. What’s been the reason of your arrival in Georgia? Was it your own will or were you invited from Georgian side?

I was invited into New Energy but my general idea was to come back to Georgia and bring my family along. There was a movement inside me that made me to come, work and live in Georgia, in my county. Everywhere I went, although I have friends all over the world, I felt my home is nowhere but in Georgia. Last time I’ve lived here was when I was eight and after so many years I come here and I feel home.

- How does your foreign career look thus far and what are your expectations in Georgia?

- For me it was very important when I was offered this absolutely amazing job. The company itself had passed through difficult period of time. It had a need for serious restructuring. I was given the opportunity to conduct this change, which is crucial.

I’ve worked in several countries before I came here. I’ve primarily worked for more than ten years in Europe. I worked in Spain, England, I‘ve had a brief period of cooperating with some Russian companies and I would say that I’ve never seen such capacity that Georgians have to intake new information, to adapt European standards to the local and regional situation.

-  How do you see your prior experience help New Energy in its future activities and what’s your vision of the company’s further development like?

What I clearly see is that New Energy has a huge potential: professional specialists, advance technical base, and 7 years of experience in construction field. The goal of our team is to direct this potential right way and I strongly believe that the company will completely overcome all the challenges in the near future. We’ve already managed to finish significant projects, which had been moving slowly before.  New Energy’s new management has worked out a strict timeline for duly paying back all the debts of the last few years. Significant changes are ongoing in New Energy at the moment.

We’ve changed the vision of the New Energy into a corporate European company. We’re not a company that you can relate to any other company in Georgia. New Energy has become a very unique company, that has a vision of progressing further, opening new horizons, developing new business nieces and introducing new technology into the Georgian infrastructure business.

My team members, who also are new managers and have very similar story to mine, prior had been in charge of very complex tasks in large-scale organizations like British Petroleum, Petrofac, British Gass, ENI Corporation, International Financial Institutions.  One of our deputy general directors Shota Baghaturia has worked on pipelines and oil fields; another Deputy General Director Giorgi Supatashvili has a work experience in the banking industry in Georgia. Communication with banks is one of the issues where many Georgian companies fail. Any kind of lender always needs to be sure of one very simple thing-when will the lender return borrowed capital to the bank. Bank of Georgia is very important financial partner of the New Energy and we successfully use its support for the company’s needs in order to progress.

- New Energy is the biggest Georgian general contractor company within the infrastructure building sector. Could you please name the top projects that would serve as the company’s visit card not only in Georgia but abroad as well?

- Key projects accomplished by New Energy were implemented in different fields and regions.  One of the most important projects on our disposal is the refugee settlement in Tserovani. Four thousand homes were built in less than three months.

As for projects concerning infrastructure, we have built the sewage and water system of Batumi, in the region which is the priority in case of Georgian tourism development.

For the past three years New Energy has built dozens of major roads. Gombori road, which is the second option to access Kakheti was constructed by our company also in record time – three months. Concrete pavement road In Ozurgeti, which was a very difficult and complex work. Geguti road in Kutaisi and another road in Akhaltsikhe. Road building has become one of our key business elements and we will keep this strategy for the coming years.

New Energy has plans to diversify its activities and go into new sectors like high tension lines. We are planning our involvement in big and important projects in the high tension supply and production sector.

- As for environment, quality and safety issues, would you say your projects are 100% in accordance with international standards?

The policy of New Energy is to prevent human injury or loss of life by maintaining a  high standard of safety performance, fostering concern and respect for  protecting the environment and avoiding property damage  in all undertakings, ensuring employees conduct their operations in the  same spirit.

Technical team reviewing our work is a European company.  The quality of our work and the quality of our performance is of European standards, which is very important for Georgia. We have this experience and we have this knowledge to conduct big complex projects in a very short amount of time, which I think is what distinguishes New Energy from other companies. If you look at the Georgian market of infrastructure you will find that you have a great deal of specialization within the sector. However, it’s very rare to meet a company which combines several of those issues and plus to that conducts its day to day activity in all the infrastructure sub-sectors (water, gas, electricity and road building) at the same time and performs well in large scale projects.

 

-  What international financial organizations does New Energy partner with?

- Our partners are such large-scale international financial institutions like: KfW, World Bank, EBRD and ADB. For instance, the water and sewage system tender in Mestia, which we recently won is also financed by one of our partners. This is 75 kilometers of internal infrastructure that will provide Mestia with the top quality European standard water and sewage system. Georgian President has been concentrating on this region in order to make it a tourist attraction able to receive more and more tourists every year.

- How would you evaluate Georgian government’s strategy as far as regional road and infrastructure development is concerned?

- Georgian government has been great, absolutely amazing in balancing the financing regional development in all the regions of Georgia. We know that better than anyone since New Energy is a multi-sector company; we’re doing water system in Batumi and at the same time we’re doing two roads in Kakheti, electricity in Svaneti, road in Akhaltsikhe, water in Kutaisi. It’s not that we’re investing only in Georgia’s coast region because we want tourists there; so the spread is perfect and no one can say that they are abandoned by financial attention from our high respected government.

Roads are very important. We have actually been assisting the Road Department of Georgia during the work this summer on the Mestia road building project, which is a new road toward Mestia from Zugdidi. And of course we didn’t stop working on any of our other 20 projects that were going on at the same time.

This summer when there was a Rikoti disaster in June and we were able to open this road in seven days thanks to the most of the road building companies working in Georgia and amazingly well organized from the Road Department from the Ministry of Infrastructure and the personal attention of minister Nikolaishvili. Our company was in charge of the most difficult and most complex part of the road and we did it successfully for which I was granted an Order of Honor from the president of Georgia.

- As for today more than 1000 people work for the company. Are they mostly locals or what’s your job creation strategy like?

- In frame of the government project to reduce unemployment in the country New Energy creates jobs for local residents in the  regions of Georgia. Up to 500 – employees were engaged from the various regions of Georgia during the last six months. We’re a Georgian company; This is the key; we need to employee Georgian people.

The last most significant example was in Batumi where we employed 95% of local people who now know how to lay infrastructure, they’re now skilled workers who can be employed all over Georgia. We assist social mobility within our country.

Another good example is Tserovani Base located near the Tserovani settlement that was especially built for IDP’s of August 2008 war. More than 35% of Tserovani Employees are IDPs from Tserovani settlement. Specialists of New Energy constantly provide professional trainings for the local people, giving them an employment opportunity.

We have water treatment plant finished in Bakuriani, which is exceptional; it is the first time in the country to use such high technology of water purifying and water refinery. We’re building second plant in Borjomi and works there are going perfectly as same people are involved and they’re already experienced and know all the details of building this type of water treatment plant.

- As part of its social responsibility strategy New Energy has constructed new church in Tserovani settlment  for the Internally Displaced Persons affected by the 2008 war. Also another monastery was reconstructed in Chokhatauri. Why’s social responsibility important for you company?

- We have to always remember that any corporate structure, any company in Georgia is made of Georgians. If we don’t help our own people and don’t try to give some of that revenue that we generate in our own country back to our people we’re failing in the essence of national interest.

In terms of social responsibility to the population, what we consider first is that we’re all Christians. We believe that the Christianity in Georgia is one of the main pillars of our national character. For us it’s only normal that Georgian company helps building and reconstructing churches and monasteries. If there is no faith there is no Georgia.

- Which sectors will be priority for New Energy in 2012?

- New Energy in 2012 will be concentrated on road building, water and waste water, infrastructure and treatment plants, electricity. We’ve won a two-year project of water and sewage system in Mestia. In addition, we’ll be trying ourselves in something new.

We’re coming into sectors where we are not present or were not present and we’re coming in with big projects and we are able to perform.

- After so many years living abroad in different countries, how do you see yourself in Georgia?

- I intend to stay here forever. My wife, my child and I have established ourselves in Tbilisi. My 4 year old son has already started learning Georgian and so have I. I’d like my son and my future children to be educated in Georgia. For me it’s important that my son integrates with Georgian children and he becomes part of our country.

 

 

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