Adam Sikorski, CEO of Unimot S.A.: 30 years of experience in the energy industry and a guarantee of stability
The COVID-19 outbreak did not stop Unimot Group’s growth. How would you sum up the last months and what made the company feel little impact of the pandemic on its operations?
The outbreak of a pandemic was a period of uncertainty and challenge for many industries. Many decisions depended on its course. We had to deal with the constant change of the market environment and the related epidemiological restrictions that had not been observed for many decades. What allowed us to maintain our good position was, above all, experience, flexibility and efficiency of operation. We have not been afraid to take risks, we have managed to take advantage of market opportunities and find ourselves in this volatile environment. At each stage we took advantage of synergies between the Unimot Group companies. Paradoxically for us that period was very successful. I am tempted to say that it was even historic, as we achieved very good financial results during this period.
We ended 2020 with the historically highest revenue and adjusted EBITDA. Total consolidated revenues amounted to PLN 4,770 million, an increase of 6.9 percent compared to 2019. Consolidated adjusted EBITDA was at PLN 87.2 million, an increase of as much as 36.9 percent. We completed a lot of projects that are important for us: the development of operations in the RES segment or the introduction of the UNIMOT Klub+ shareholder loyalty program, which is a nod to our long-term investors. In this way we want to thank them for being with us, even in those difficult and uncertain moments which the whole world economy was facing. We are constantly expanding the AVIA fuel station network by new locations, we have launched a new image campaign, and soon we are going to offer additional benefits for UNIMOT Klub+ members, related to the AVIA fuel network offer.
What actions does Unimot undertake to increase customer awareness of environmental protection?
As a fuel company, we always try to minimise our negative impact on the environment, among other things, by diligently implementing the National Indicative Target. We are strongly committed to the renewable energy market, a perfect example of which is our photovoltaic business and our offer for individual and corporate customers under the brand name AVIA Solar. This year we also acquired 80 percent of shares in Operator Klastra Energii Sp. z o.o. (OKE), which is the coordinator of the Żywiecka Energia Przyszłości cluster. Thanks to this investment Unimot Group will actively participate in the works carried out within the cluster, among others through organization and supply of electricity from the cluster’s generation sources as well as development of investment portfolio of photovoltaic sources of higher power for the entities located within the Katowice Special Economic Zone from the Żywiec district. In addition, Unimot Energia i Gaz will be involved in the Słoneczna Żywiecczyzna (Sunny Żywiec region) program, where prosumer photovoltaic microinstallations will be built under the AVIA Solar brand in a project with an assumed total capacity of over 11 MW.
It has been a year since you entered the RES market with the AVIA Solar project. How do Unimot and AVIA combine the fuel business with solutions based on renewable energy sources?
AVIA Solar is primarily an offer of ecological solutions for individual customers and companies, of which the flagship product is the sale and comprehensive service of photovoltaic installations. We use the synergy effect here by informing about our offer also at our AVIA filling stations. Customers have the opportunity to obtain information on photovoltaic panels, and if they leave their data, our team of specialists will prepare a tailor-made installation offer for them. Additionally, on the roof of one of our stations in Gorzów Wielkopolski, we have installed 5 kWp panels. Thanks to this station has been equipped with its own source of green energy. Installation of panels on large objects, such as petrol stations, guarantees, above all, a significant reduction in electricity bills, cost-free energy production and generation of energy in a truly emission-free manner. Thanks to such solutions you can gain even several thousands of additional income.
How do you evaluate the development of this sector in Poland in general?
On the Polish market we observe a very dynamic development of this area. The year 2020 was the best proof of that. According to SolarPower Europe, an association of entities from the photovoltaic energy sector, in 2020 Poland was in fourth place in terms of growth of installed PV power in the European Union. Increased interest in photovoltaics can be observed in households – greater environmental awareness and the possibility of generating considerable savings have contributed to this. Poland has also opened up to investments in the construction of photovoltaic farms, and the total capacity of PV installations operating in our country is now about 4.5 GW. For comparison, the installed capacity of the largest Polish coal-fired power plant is 5.2 GW. This shows the scale of investment and progress that Poland is making towards switching to renewable energy sources, so I am glad that Unimot can be an active participant in this process of energy transition which is necessary from the point of view of future generations.
You are striving to become a leader among companies offering photovoltaic installations. What makes AVIA Solar different from its competitors?
By entering the market with a new brand – AVIA Solar – we decided to take advantage of our almost 30 years of experience in the energy industry. The Unimot Group guarantees stability, which is a strong asset appreciated by our customers. It is worth mentioning that we are a company listed on the Warsaw Stock Exchange and we generate annual revenues of over PLN 4 billion. Customers can feel safe with us. In the area of photovoltaics, we can offer them a comprehensive installation offer, combined with energy storage and supplemented with energy supply from the grid. We have created a complete service, tailored to the needs of customers – both individual and business. We focus on product and service quality. We select leading manufacturers of inverter modules and mounting systems – all of them have the required approvals and meet stringent safety standards. We check the efficiency and effectiveness guaranteed by suppliers as well as the length of product and service warranties. We choose installation teams with several years of experience. Above all we put our customer’s interest which is connected with achieving the highest possible effectiveness of energy obtained from the installation.
Number of electric cars in Poland is growing. How does AVIA adjust to this trend?
Currently in Poland we have more than 30 million cars registered, of which 20 thousand are electric vehicles. This market is just beginning, but we must be ready for its development. As an operator of more than 65 fuel stations, we are already thinking about how the stations will look in the future and what fuels they will have to offer to meet customer needs. Certainly, we have to be prepared for this trend, but it is not yet that stage for electric car charging poles to appear at each petrol station. To sum up – we observe the market and we will be flexible to adapt to it.
Unimot Group is distinguished by continuous development. What are your plans for the coming months, years?
We are not slowing down. We put great emphasis on the development of the AVIA fuel station network and the implementation of our original catering concept – Eat&Go – at all our own and franchised stations. We are currently negotiating and negotiating in more than a dozen new locations in Poland – we maintain our plan to have around 100 AVIA stations by the end of this year and, in accordance with our business strategy, 200 stations by 2023. AVIA itself in Poland is also developing – in June another Polish company, the Pieprzyk Group, became a member of the AVIA International association. Thanks to this the network of AVIA fuel stations in Poland will soon grow to 140. As Unimot we are also developing a network of AVIA fuel stations in Ukraine. It is a difficult but promising market. Soon there will be 15 stations operating there under the AVIA brand, all in the franchise model. We are looking for further development opportunities in the photovoltaic sector and are analysing various scenarios. Participation and continuous development in renewable energy sources is an important value for our Group and I am convinced that we will soon be able to boast of further successes in this area.
Since 1992, he has co-founded UNIMOT Capital Group, which is one of the largest private companies in the energy market in Poland. In 2012, he became Chairman of the Supervisory Board and major shareholder of PZL Sędziszów S.A. – a leading domestic manufacturer of filters for the automotive industry, where he served as President of the Company’s Management Board in 2015-18.
Since August 2018. Adam Sikorski is the President of the Management Board of UNIMOT S.A.
Adam Sikorski is a graduate of International Economic Relations at the Polonia Academy in Częstochowa. He completed post-graduate Executive MBA studies and in 2013 he received an Executive Doctor of Business Administration – EDBA diploma from the Institute of Economics, Polish Academy of Sciences in Warsaw.
Since 2015, Adam Sikorski is also a certified member of The John Maxwell Team, which is a licensed coach, teacher and motivational speaker on the international John Maxwell Team. His passion is the topics of leadership and personal development.
Last Updated on June 29, 2021 by Karolina Ampulska