Lucart, is an Italian multinational, with more than 65 years of history and a presence in more than 70 countries. It settled in the Basque Country three years ago with a project for the future, with which it has managed to create new jobs and revive the old production plants of the CEL group.
The Italian family multinational, leader in Europe in the production of tissue papers (toilet paper, kitchen paper, napkins, etc.), has three plants in the Basque Country, from which it produces and distributes more than 50,000 tons of paper per year.
Specifically, in its plants in Artziniega (Álava) and Aranguren (Bizkaia) it manufactures toilet paper, hand-drying reels and wipes, industrial reels and stretcher paper for the livestock, industrial, maintenance, retail, Horeca, health, food and aesthetic sectors; and from the warehouse located in Güeñes (Bizkaia) it distributes its products throughout the Iberian Peninsula.
As a consequence of the pandemic generated by COVID-19, and “due to the shortage of product and raw material”, the firm had to reorient its production and markets last year, explains Daniel Relloso, sales director for the Iberian market. Thus, “due to the growing use of soaps to maintain hand hygiene”, Lucart increased the manufacture of products aimed at drying hands and, on the other hand, “the production of products aimed at hotels and hotels, for example, decreased,” given the obvious reduction in demand.
In this way, they promoted their product ranges aimed “at the markets and services that remained open, such as industry, the medical sector, nursing homes and schools”, the company managed to “more than compensate for the traditional business directed to the Horeca sector to that also, when it reactivates, we will have greater growth ”; a growth that due to the crisis has been reduced, although the results obtained “were good”. In fact, the company has already “recovered orders and we have double-digit growth, which is what we expected last year,” he says.
The company’s goal is for 90% of the product sold in the Iberian market to be produced in the Basque Country, through a manufacturing process “online for energy efficiency and waste regeneration,” Relloso explains. In this sense, he highlights that “sustainability is one of the hallmarks” of the company, which applies production and business models inspired by the principles of the circular economy “to actively contribute to the future of the planet.”
In the last eight years, the group has managed to avoid 170,000 tons of CO2 emissions into the atmosphere, related to the recycling of tetrapak containers.
Likewise, Lucart also works “with local suppliers, trying to ensure that the raw material comes from nearby environments, that it is kilometer zero”, although, as with some specific and value-added products, it is inevitable to go abroad, since that “the machinery is so specific that the specialists are in other countries, especially in Italy”.
Relloso details that in the last three years, the firm has invested more than 20 million euros “to develop new production lines and improve existing ones. In addition, we have also focused investments on the retrofitting of the machines, on improving the efficiency and quality of the final product, and on sustainability aspects.”
This summer, Lucart has launched a new automatic line for the manufacture of hand towels, in which four million euros have been invested. It is about innovative machinery, “of the latest generation, capable of producing twice that of a traditional machine, due to the fact that it has two separate unwinding lines”.
Along these lines, the group considers it a priority to continue investing in the plants in the Basque Country, which is why it is currently working on the five-year strategic plan that shows its firm commitment to a future project in the Basque Country, where it employs 224 people after managing to reorder the productive assets that it acquired in 2018.
Iñigo Urkullu and the Minister of Economic Development, Sustainability and the Environment, Arantxa Tapia, visited the Lucart plant in Artziniega at the end of July, on the occasion of the inauguration of a new production line. Together with them, the CEO of the company, Massimo Pasquini, appeared, thanking the Basque institutions “for their closeness from the first moments”. Likewise, he stated that “the situation in the Basque Country is strategic for the company from the logistical point of view due to its good connection with the Iberian, French, and English markets,” for which he pledged to “continue investing in our plants in the Country. Basque”.
After a short meeting, Ur kullu, recognized “the positive attitude that represents” the investment of the company since its arrival in the Basque Country, and that it represents “a commitment to industrial capacity, internationalization and employment in this region”. He also stressed that “Lucart is a benchmark in the sustainable and responsible production model”, since it optimizes the use of raw materials and reduces waste in the manufacture of paper, transforming it into new resources “.
The sum of investment, technology, digitization and environmental sustainability improve the competitiveness of the company. These are precisely the axes that will contribute to an inclusive and sustainable economic development model, in line with the company’s commitment to the “Basque Green Deal”.