Category Archives: Media

Duros a quatre pessetes 30/12/2014

Tertulia analysis of how 2014 has gone in the program “duros a quatre pessetes” form Capital Radio in Barcelona.

Interview in Economia Digital: “Companies have their plans ready to exit Catalonia if necessary”

The German manager who heads Adminex assures that “insecurity kills any business” 

Marc Ambrock is all sympathy and attention but he also values Germany punctuality. He has a complicated agenda, is constantly travelling and makes most of his time. He is a German entrepreneur who has his company in his genes, Ambrock, an industrial coating company with 125 years of experience behind it. Marc Ambrock, however, wanted to launch another company, Adminex, with offices in all of Europe, in Barcelona and Madrid, which helps small and medium businesses in their internationalization process.

It is his passion, because it allows him to see the peculiarities of each country, of each culture and draw different strategies. This enables him to touch his interlocutor’s arm, being fully aware that a German would not do it. But Ambrock lives in Barcelona, a city he considers as one of the best in quality of life.

And maybe for that reason, this German businessman, who is well connected with the Catalan economic and business world – he is a frequent participant in the events organized by the employers’ association Foment –, sees clearly that Catalonia’s process toward independence can be bad business for everyone. “States compete like companies and politicians need time to understand that”, claims Ambrock.

Exit strategies
First conclusion after this statement? Companies find their own ways and flee from situations of uncertainty. That is why this entrepreneur relies on his experience and assures that “many companies already have their plans to exit Catalonia if necessary; they have already developed exit strategies, even if they do it slowly”. And he adds that they are not just international companies but also Catalan ones with head offices in other parts of Spain.

Does, therefore, a real fear exist, as recently claimed by a group of German managers? Ambrock was not part of the group, who made public the so-called Declaration of Barcelona, but does support its reflections. If Catalonia becomes independent and exits the European Union, “this is a problem of great dimension which businesses cannot accept”.

France and Morocco

He adds with clarity that “insecurity kills any business”. “This is not a threat, it is a fact, and international companies will not accept to have their development capacities limited for political reasons”. Moreover, he explains, “we have all seen that the European Commission is taking more and more decisions, so we simply cannot opt out”.

In regard to the possibility of companies setting up their offices where the best opportunities are to be found, Ambrock mentions the case of France. He states that it produces fewer cars than Spain because the factories have moved to Morocco “which offers them the best conditions possible”. That is to say that there is nothing secure now, “and even more in situations of instability”.

The loss of the industry
But Marc Ambrock, very knowledgeable on Russia and the problems of Russian companies, does not want to appear as a pessimist or as opposed to just any independence movements without offering more arguments. For the CEO of Adminex the problem is that the independence ideal “is not backed by a very serious project”. And there he starts explaining his own experience at the forefront of Adminex. This entrepreneur understands that the reindustrialization plans, as described by the Minister of Business and Labor Felip Puig, will have little effect “because in this case we are late”.

Catalonia has not drawn a horizon for the future, pushing for those sectors in which it could indeed be a state-of-the-art country. He stresses that “the companies that currently show interest for Spain, the ones that we are orienting at Adminex, belong to very specific sectors such as bio-technology, medicine and information technology. They are in no way companies of the industrial world”.

Investment is coming back
He admits that Catalonia is receiving foreign investment, as the Government of Artur Mas has highlighted in the past months, but sees it as part of a recovery process of Spain as a whole. He explains, “it is true and we are noticing that investment is coming back to Spain, which is already in a process of economic recovery, and as a result, Catalonia also benefits from it”.

For Ambrock – a much-respected name in Germany for its weight in the German industry – Catalonia should take more advantage of a platform like Spain and Europe. “With dimension, by being part of something greater, you can be more competitive in global markets”, he claims. But in which sectors? He enumerates a few in which he firmly believes. “In medicine, in the aeronautical sector – with a center like Toulouse so close-by -, in bio-technology and in tourism, we should be able to be leaders”.

Yet, this entrepreneur who adores Catalonia, but whose ideal would be to have an ID “of the United States of Europe, because I am German”, warns that Catalonia’s main problem “is training”, no matter what its political future holds. Human capital is the key to compete, and in that aspect “improvement is necessary”, he concludes.

By Manel Manchón in Economia Digital ( 07/03/2014 )

“Russian and Spanish: business in a private club”, the Russian Week at Gild International in the Media

During the presentation of the Russian Week at Gild International I had the pleasure of being interviewed by Manel Manchon of Economía Digital.

Marc Ambrock, the German businessman and President of Gild International, is a huge advocate for companies to internationalize. Manuel Manchón 25/05/2013

Marc Ambrock during the presentationAmbrock is a German businessman who has deep roots in the business practice, ethics, and values that have made large German enterprise one of the world’s largest and most thriving economies. His family business, Ambrock group, has been in international business for 125 years. Ambrock now runs other projects like Adminex, which he founded to help the internationalization of the small and medium size enterprise.

This is his passion. Ambrock has lived in Barcelona for 20 years, but travels constantly. His wife is Catalan, and that fusion is fundamental to Ambrock. “No German would touch his arm to his interviewer, Mark distances,” he says, after doing the same with this reporter.

And that extroversion, which is also the sign of a security for his work and for all that he believes, has led to another project that he dedicated his body and soul to. Ambrock has revitalized the private business club Gild International, which was launched in 2007 in the Eixample of Barcelona, but over the past two years, has gained full force.

German Persistence

This is the club where you do business. An exquisite gourmet restaurant pampers its guests; there are multiple meeting rooms of different sizes, and the overall cozy atmosphere is very different from a large hotel or offices of political institutions and businesses.

In a small palace in the charming and paved passage Permanyer, Russian and Spanish professionals exchanged views this past week. A platform dedicated to Russia, with the momentum of Ambrock.

“The Germans have already been in Russia for years, and while they have had many failures, they are persistent, and that is the best feature that an entrepreneur can have who wants to internationalize” says Ambrock.

No public contests

In the club, we provided a platform that that clashed with the norms of the highly competitive business and professional world. In Russia, there are “no public contest” for innovative projects and ideas. One of the biggest factors in internationalizing is to be sure “you know, you establish a personal connection”. Therefore afterwards, an entrepreneur can have access into certain circles where decisions are ultimately made. This takes time, and constant travel, says Ambrock.

Russia is now emerging as a huge market, “because it is a continent with a growing middle class,” said the German businessman.

Increased exports

During Russian Week, the project director of Invest in Spain, Mercedes Pizarro, spoke of the Russian sin of neglecting many areas of the economy, but energy efficiency however, is the true Russian manna. Furthermore, there are many Catalan Natural Gas companies that are already present in Russia.

In addition, Russia and Spain signed an agreement that has facilitated trade and grown exports to Russia by 47% over the past two years. The turnover has grown from 1.994 million euros in 2010 to 3000 million in 2012, according to the Ministry of Economy.

Russian Tourists

What else is in Russians interests? For now tourism. The tour operator Natalie Tours Catalunya brings each year nearly half a million of Russian tourists, one of the most important sources of wealth in these times of economic crisis. Those tourists, however, can be clients of other sectors as well, because they also seek business opportunities in Catalonia and Spain, as noted Ambrock.

The exchange of knowledge in private clubs, which have always existed, is now more valuable than ever; especially with many governments in an agonizing situation and few ideas to stimulate the economy.