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Give me your water

The First Bulgarian company, founded by five shareholders "Hydrolia", offers to take care of the water resources of private companies

-The service is new and unfamiliar, but the owners expect a 10-fold increase in business for this year.

-The offer of the young company is to take the Plumbing tasks-from maintenance of water pipelines and sewerage in a factory to its wastewater treatment plant


Imagine you're a car driver. Every day you get in it and you go. There are few people, however, who lift the lid and start digging through the machine when a problem arises, and on the contrary-they turn to specialists.

-So Dobromir Simidchiev, CEO and shareholder in "Hydrolia", tries most simply to explain exactly what their company does, which mainly offers "operation and maintenance of Plumbing assets".

The company is the first Bulgarian company to offer private customers from the industry, from breweries to tourist complexes, the possibility to transfer the management of their large water facilities to an external contractor. "Seaplia" has chosen to work in a market that almost does not exist in Bulgaria.

The new niche

The genesis of "Seaplia" and the people behind it is long, and in fact we are not gathered to establish the company, but we have been working together for a long time. "Seaplia" is a kind of natural platform that we created.

-Tells Dobromir Simidchiev. The company was founded at the end of 2015, but its essential work began in the beginning of 2016. Since then, they have been looking for customers, trying to gain their trust, and so far have managed to attract over a dozen.

The founders and managers of the company are five people, who in one way or another are connected with the water: Radoslav Rusev and Dobromir Simidchiev, for example, were part of the "Sofiyska Voda". Some of them have another main business: Blagoy Kozarev is the owner of the construction "Raikommerce construction" and Zhivko Tsenov has a consulting engineering firm. Dimitar Ivanov also has an engineering-manufacturing company, operating entirely in the Water and Sewerage sector.

What "Seaplia" offers to private companies is to take care of their Water Supply assets. Simidchiev compares this with public Water operators, for example "Sofiyska Voda" and how they meet the resource to reach people's dwellings. The responsibility for the maintenance of the equipment is then the citizens.

The difference between your apartment and a huge plant is that there are so many Plumbing assets and complex infrastructure that they require separate management. In fact, our role is precisely this-we can help industrial customers to better manage both their water resources and their infrastructure.

-he explains. Often large enterprises do not have the necessary expert composition for management of water facilities, so the need for an external contractor is emerging. This model appeared in Western Europe about 20 years ago, but it is only now entering more widely here.

The reasons for development are different: from the strong development of the food industry, which uses a lot of water, to the increased environmental requirements, which require the heavy industry to have complex and expensive wastewater treatment plants, for which, however, The companies themselves have no deep knowledge.

Wide-Cut offers

Besides the maintenance and operation of the Water Supply assets-from water pipelines and sewerage in one factory to its treatment plant, the young company offers a wide range of services. When dealing with a new customer, the team prepares an audit, spends several days on the site and identifies potential problems in the water or purification. They then propose how costs could be reduced and efficiency increased if management were to be borne by them.

"Seaplia" also prepares investment plans that long-term improve the capacity of water facilities.

Most customers are reactive, but have no internal resources to plan long-term. They are planning the development of production capacities wonderfully, but the water infrastructure has no focus.

-explains Simidchiev.

The idea is that instead of correcting facilities annually, they should be planned and constructed in such a way as to reduce costs and increase efficiency. Sometimes, it depends on the arrangement, the company can and only finance certain investments in the infrastructure of the enterprises, and the money is then returned through a taxi ahead of time.

The company takes full risk for the facilities. If environmental inspections detect irregularities in the establishment's treatment plant, for example, the fine will be deducted from payments to "Seaplia".

"Seaplia" is fully oriented towards the private sector, at least for now. So far have about 15 clients, with about five-six having a deeper relationship, says Simidchiev. Among their clients there is a large brewery, a chain of petrol stations and one of the biggest tourist complexes in Bulgaria. The aim of the company is to have a smaller number of clients, but to have a long-term relationship with them (in the order of five-or ten-year contracts), offering them a comprehensive outsourcing, namely-to meet all facilities permanently. The company sends people to the place in the factories, factories, complexes.

At present the team of the company consists of a total of 80 employees. In 2016, the Revenues are around 250 thousand. BGN, but the forecast of Dobromir Simidchiev for this year is that the turnover will increase about ten times.

For now, the team strives to be flexible and adaptable to the needs of every new client and, if necessary, to work only on individual problems, demonstrating professionalism and gaining the confidence of companies in the long term.

The advantage and the curse to your first

It is ironic that the lack of active competition (the only other company offering similar services to the private sector in Bulgaria is the French Veolia) creates obstacles for "Seaplia". They have yet to pave the way for a service that has so far only been offered to a limited number of companies.

The market as potential has it, but it is not developed, that is, we make its real development. This is a huge challenge for us, which, of course, is an advantage because we are the first.

-Says Dobromir Simidchiev. He must justify to the companies the need for his service. For some it may sound too good to be true, and it collides with the distrust of Bulgarian companies.

There is a difference between Bulgarian and foreign clients. For most of the Western companies that have businesses here, we don't have to explain anything to them. Their stations are managed by external companies in Europe, and the clients themselves want to focus on the production they carry out-fertilizers, beer, milk, etc.

-Tells Simidchiev.

Even after the initial scepticism has been overcome, there are again difficulties at the conclusion of the Treaties.

Our relationship with the client is complicated. If you need to cover them real with one contract, it becomes 200 pages. That scares the customers.

-says the CEO. Therefore, he seeks to propose a simple treaty to cover the complex relations. And this is again about trust. So far the average cycle of negotiations with potential clients is between a year and a year and a half.

q&a


What does the customer gain from your services?
First we invest some money that has good returns because we reduce the fee to what has been paid so far. It transfers its full risk to US-whether this facility will work or not, whether this repair will be successful or not. We bet the name that this will happen and contractually take this risk. And thirdly, the classic advantage of outsourcing-just transfers it to us as a commitment and does not deal and focuses on its core business.

What is your strategy in the future?
First, we want to stay in the private sector. Our strategy is for the first two or three years to stabilize in Bulgaria, to build a backbone and from 2018. Take a look outside. We have an interest in Romania, Greece, the western Balkans. We're already moving on to having mobile installation teams.
There are two things to me: to build a stable structure that will allow us to maintain this growth and manage it, and secondly to upgrade outside Bulgaria. We want to establish ourselves as the best regional Water and Sewerage operator.

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