From coffee creamers to a leading food brand. 34 years ago, five college friends founded Maspex

From coffee creamers to a leading food brand. 34 years ago, five college friends founded Maspex

30 years ago, five college friends felt that “the climate of the 90s triggered a belief that anything was possible,” so they founded a company. They knew German, organized a network of contacts, and introduced several products to store shelves that were in demand. A few years later, the small Wadowice company made its first acquisition, and a few years after that, without complexes, it began to push itself abroad.

At the beginning of the 1990s, on a wave of euphoria caused by the beginning of the economic transformation, five colleagues from the AGH University of Science and Technology: Krzysztof Pawiński (currently the company’s president), Zdzisław Stuglik, Jerzy Kasperczyk, Sławomir Rusinek and Józef Szczur founded a company that was to supply goods to the food market without any new flavors..

– The beginnings were simple – there was a big demand for many products on the hungry Polish market, so it was enough to deliver them, taking care of the quick turnover of capital. However, good margins quickly ended when competitors appeared. First, we invested in independent packaging of products, i.e. we bought the same products as before, only in ton packages and repacked them for the Polish market. This again gave us good margins for a dozen or so months and again this advantage quickly ended – recalled Krzysztof Pawiński in “Puls Biznesu” in 2023.

Pawiński: the climate of the 1990s triggered the belief that everything is possible

In an interview with the “Mam biznes” website, he said that “the climate of the 90s triggered the belief that everything was possible.”

– Zdzisław (Stuglik – ed.) very quickly noticed the opportunity to accumulate capital and realized that you can earn good money by importing products that are not available in our country. At that time, I was a scholarship holder in Germany and had the opportunity to explore this market. Knowledge of German was also a key issue. My task was to find the right goods and since we did not have capital at that time, there was also the matter of arranging the purchase on trade credit – he reported. – And so, step by step, we built the company, which began its history in 1990 in Wadowice. These were the beginnings.

In this “first year”, the partners focused on instant teas, which were very popular 30 years ago, coffee whiteners and cocoa. For the first three years, the then small company from Wadowice dealt only with packaging and distribution of goods, but in 1993 the owners decided to produce under their own brands – Ekland, Puchatek and Filutki.

Time for big takeovers

In the mid-1990s, the market had solidified to the point where stores and customers were no longer buying everything they could just because it was a novelty sold in colorful packaging. Foreign corporations had become established on the Polish market and were beginning to dictate the terms of the game. Around that time, the partners from Wadowice were convinced that they had to have strong brands. In 1995, Maspex bought Polska Żywność from Olsztynek, a producer of thick Kubuś juices. This Polish brand boldly competed with Bobofrut, owned by the international concern Nestle.

In 1999, Maspex took over the Anin company and Tymbark, a producer of famous drinks. A year later, the company opened a juice and drink factory in Tychy. Before the end of the millennium, Maspex opened branches in the Czech Republic, Romania, Hungary and Slovakia, and a little later also in the Kaliningrad Oblast and Moscow.

The main leg on the Polish market at that time was beverages. This changed in 2003, when the Maspex Group bought Lubella, thus adding pasta, breakfast cereals, groats and flours to its offer. The next acquisition concerned a manufacturer of vitamin preparations and tablets – Polski Lek.

In parallel, acquisitions were ongoing abroad: in Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary, Russia. Russian brands were sold in 2021.

Re-Polonizing Żubrówka

An interesting takeover took place in February 2022, when the Maspex Group finalized the takeover of the Polish assets of Roust Corporation and purchased CEDC International and its subsidiary B2B Wine & Spirits along with the rights to all brands offered by CEDC: Żubrówka, Soplica, Absolwent and the Bols brand. CEDC is the leader on the Polish vodka market with a share of over 47% and the largest importer of foreign alcohols in our country. Thus, as the representatives of the Maspex Group announced, “Żubrówka has returned to Polish hands”. Not all vodka lovers have noted this fact, which two months later became the reason for calling for a boycott of the already repolonized brands.

Similar Posts