Dipl. Eng. Boyan Delchev, CEO of Trace Group Hold, for infostock.bg: "Young management teams are Trace Group Hold’s trademark"

7 Aug 2018

After Trace Group Hold PLC shares marked a stock increase in July 2018 the Bulgarian economic site www.infostock.bg published an interview with Eng. Boyan Delchev, Chief Executive Officer of the group and a member of the Management Board. The material focuses on the company's good performance at Bulgarian Stock Exchange and the significant dividend (nearly 29% of the profit) distributed to the shareholders. Eng. Delchev shared his expectations about the forthcoming key infrastructure projects in Bulgaria, the future investment intentions of Trace in Serbia and the newly registered branches of the company in Ukraine and Macedonia. Trace CEO highlighted that the holding’s goal is to establish itself as a flexible European company which requires a portfolio that includes not only all sectors of infrastructure construction but also construction of water treatment plants, water supply and sewage projects, environmental projects, construction of buildings.

Eng. Delchev commented particularly the company’s policy in discovering and training young specialists and managers: "It is our responsibility how and what we teach the young specialists and workers so that they become successful. The tears in the eyes caused by the joy and satisfaction of the work done turn the minuses into pluses - they are the "compensation" for the heavy situations, countdowns, affects we have passed through, but not a failure." 

The complete interview goes below:

Question: Trace Group Hold PLC offered a dividend of nearly 29% of the realized profit this year, or slightly above BGN 0,06.3 per share. Do you consider this dividend distribution policy to be retained in the future?

Boyan Delchev: Dividends are one of the decisive factors for investors in shares at the Bulgarian market. For the management of Trace Group Hold PLC dividend distribution is a respect for all shareholders - small and large ones, and Trace seeks to maintain a consistent dividend policy, with dividend payouts of between 18% and 30% of the profit for the previous year. However, this is not an exception. In 2015, the company paid its shareholders a dividend in amount of BGN 3.3 million, which is 29% of the profit for 2014. In 2013 the dividend (BNG 3 million) even exceeded 30% of the profit.

Q: How is Trace Group Hold growing its business in Serbia and can you tell us a little more about your investment plans there?

B.D.: The Serbian market is not easy and despite our proximity as a language and culture, it was a challenge for us. A few years ago we won tender procedures for the construction of several sections of the eastern and southern part of Corridor 10. We started building them with much zeal and professionalism. Despite the obstacles of all kinds, we made it, we finished our section of the AM 80 between Nis and Dimitrovgrad first among all companies. In the near future we will finish what could be called perhaps the most complicated section of Corridor 10 - Gardelica – Caricina dolina section (5 km length).

In Eastern Serbia we bought the two most powerful road construction companies - in Nis and Vranja. 90% of our local team are engineers, designers and construction workers with Serbian origin. We have implemented our organization of work, we have continued the tradition of training young cadres and giving them positions that allow them a professional development. The management team of Trace Serbia is about to start rehabilitation works on a 13 km section of State Road IB 39 (Vlasotince – Svođe), worth about RSD 653,000,000, with funding from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the European Investment Bank and the Republic of Serbia. Over the next two years, we expect projects to be implemented in road and bridges construction area, as well as in construction of railway infrastructure, buildings and underground.

Q: What key projects do you plan by the end of 2018 and early 2019?

B.D.: We continue the construction of sections of the Third Stream of Sofia underground and the construction of 5 metro stations in Sofia. We continue also the rehabilitation of the railway line from Sofia to Burgas. We continue repairing the railway line Zmeevo - Stara Zagora. We participate in all tenders for railway construction in the country, which exceed BNG 1.5 billion, as well as in the road construction tender procedures. As a company with extensive experience in railway construction and underground construction we have the ambition to fully apply this experience in Serbia.

Q: You have recently announced that you have registered branches in Macedonia and Ukraine. Which direction will your business grow to broad?

B.D.: According to an analysis of the European Commission the construction sector is the largest employer in Europe. "Trace Group Hold" PLC is part of this market. As a European company we have taken a series of appropriate actions searching for new markets, expanding our subsidiaries’ portfolio, including through the expansion of foreign investments and the acquisition of new specialized companies.

Trace's geography is where the conditions for working in a real competitive environment are.

Q: You are known as a company that discovers and develops its management teams. The benefits of this system are clear, but are there minuses and how do you compensate them? What is the balance so far?

B.D.: Young management teams are as a trademark of Trace. We create a new generation of engineers and builders who, besides specialized knowledge, have analytical skills, practical ingenuity, good communication skills, business knowledge and leadership. Two years ago Prof. Nikolay Mihaylov together with University of Finance, Business and Entrepreneurship created a joint master program "Business Management and Planning in Construction".

It is our responsibility how and what we teach the young specialists and workers so that they become successful. The tears in the eyes caused by the joy and satisfaction of the work done turn the minuses into pluses - they are the "compensation" that there have been heavy situations, countdowns, affects, but not a failure.

Q: You have also targeted the construction of landfills. What are the prospects for this business if there is now EU financing for it?

B.D.: The construction of landfills is not a new activity for us. The aim of our group is to establish itself as a flexible European company whose portfolio includes all branches of infrastructure construction - roads, airports, underground and construction of water treatment plants, water supply and sewerage projects, environment projects and construction of buildings.

* Eng. Boyan Delchev is a member of the Management Board of Trace Group Hold PLC and Chief Executive Officer of the Company since 2013. He graduated "Lyuben Karavelov" Higher School of Civil Engineering, with engineer degree in "Construction of Buildings and Facilities". He is one of Trace Group Hold PLC prominent project managers in the field of underground and railway construction. Eng. Delchev was project manager for the construction of Sofia underground in the section between Patriarh Evtimiy Blvd. and Cherni Vruh Blvd. with a length of 2.6 km and 3 underground stations included. Previously, he led the construction of Mladost 1 underground station in Sofia and its adjacent route. He has also participated in the management of the rehabilitation of Plovdiv - Bourgas railway line (Southern Bulgaria).

An interview by Zdravko Vassilev/ infostock.bg