EBRD and EU help family business develop new strategy and grow
From chic beds to stylish wardrobes, LETTO offers all the furniture a bedroom needs. A family-owned business based in Northern Greece, the company is now one of the country’s leading manufacturers of bedroom furniture. When the time came to hone strategy and expand beyond local markets, LETTO turned to the EBRD for guidance.
The Koios family, owners of LETTO, design and provide furniture to homes and hotels all over Greece and Cyprus. With more than 50 years expertise in the field and close to 100 points of sales, their clients include also some of the best hotels in holiday destinations such as Thessaloniki, Halkidiki and the Greek islands. Their main target is now to boost their exports to other countries such as Germany and Saudi Arabia.
“There is a large furniture market in Greece, with very beautiful and functional designs mainly influenced by Italy, which was from where we acquired our know-how. However, exports are necessary because Greek homes and hotels are insufficient if we want to grow,” says Dimitra Papoutsi, LETTO’s Marketing Manager.
“Admitting that you need a consultant and finding the right one is an immense process. Someone had to organise our thoughts and organise us as a team, too. The Bank helped us a lot with that,” says Dimitra.
The first project was to design a new strategic plan for the coming years. “We were very satisfied with the results, so the decision to proceed with the second project came easier, as we knew what we wanted to do and where to go for advice. The EBRD helped us find the right sales consultant, who is still with us and supports us on a weekly basis, even after the completion of the project,” she adds.
That helped the company deal with the Covid-19 crisis and its consequences. Last year was good for LETTO in terms of home furniture sales, with around a 37 per cent increase in sales compared to 2019. With the EBRD’s help, the company managed to recover a large part of the turnover they lost from the hotel sector due to the crisis in tourism.
A sustainable and energy-efficient factory
Among LETTO’s main priorities is to always use verified raw materials following all EU standards. In fact, the company has invested in a sophisticated waste management system in order to handle its by-products, making it one of the most eco-friendly companies in Greece’s furniture industry.
In addition to carefully collecting and recycling aluminium, iron, nylon and paper, the company processes sawdust and turns it into briquettes (compressed blocks) to fully supply the modern, zero-emissions boilers that warm its 5,000 square metre facilities. This way, the by-products are not discarded, leading to greater energy efficiency and avoiding waste.
“When we decided to expand the facilities and purchase new machinery in 2004, we also set up a new management system for our by-products. We had tons of sawdust that incurred disposal expenses only to be thrown in landfills,” highlights Dimitra.
LETTO is now planning to install solar panels to cover all its energy needs, which is more important than ever, not only in environmental terms, but also to cut down costs due to ongoing increases in energy prices.
The EBRD has so far supported over 140 small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Greece.