125 YEARS OF TRADITIONThe OPOCZNO Ceramic Plant goes back to 1883 when Jan Dziewulski with his brothers Józef and Władysław Lange established the first factory in Staromiejska Street in Opoczno. Firstly, they manufactured red bricks and other ceramic products and later they started producing stoneware floor tiles.
The tiles from Opoczno were widely appreciated, which was reflected by several awards won by the company in those days including: 1897 – Gold Medal during the exhibition in Kiev, 1900 – Grand Silver Medal in the Worldwide Exhibition in Paris, 1903 – Gold Medal in Brussels, 1909 – Gold Medal during the exhibition in Yekaterinoslav.
The dynamic company’s development was arrested by the outbreak of the First World War. The production was resumed not before 1924. New investments were realised and, thanks to the Opoczno factory’s modernisation and construction of a new plant, the tiles production started growing gradually. This upward trend was disrupted by deteriorating market situation. Until the outbreak of the Second World War the Opoczno plants experienced several ups and downs. However, even during the war, the production was not discontinued. During the German occupation, the factory manufactured mostly refractory products, tiles, acid-resistant clinker and small numbers of stoneware tiles.
On 27 October 1945 the factory’s nationalisation process began and the “Dziewulski and Lange” Ceramic Joint-Stock Company was assigned the Provisional State Management and was named OPOCZNO Terracotta Products Factory.
On 14 March 1950 the company was fully nationalised and became an independent enterprise called Opoczno Stoneware Tiles Works.
The 50s, 60s and 70s were the years of development, new investments and modernisation of existing OPOCZNO plants. In 1958 Plant No 3 was started (today’s name “Śląsk”). In the 60s, this plant manufactured products above its estimated productive capacity. In the 70s, the glazing and baking technology was altered.
The 80s in OPOCZNO were the years of numerous energy-efficient technologies and machinery making it possible to manufacture modern products. The construction of Plant No 4 (current name “Pomorze”) was completed and the introduction of new working methods significantly reduced labour demand and energy consumption during production processes.
New investments were started at the beginning of the 90s. In 1993, the “Opal” type ceramic tile was awarded the “Teraz Polska” emblem. The crowning achievement for ZZPC OPOCZNO was the Golden Statue for the Polish Business Leader awarded in 1998 by the Business Centre Club.
The end of the 90s was the time of changes. In October 1998 the company was commercialised and transformed into a company wholly owned by the State Treasury.
The breakthrough moment in the company’s history was the year 2000 when it was privatised. At the same time, the most modern Polish manufacturing plant was opened (Plant No 6 – “Mazowsze”). The opening ceremony was honoured by Aleksander Kwaśniewski – the then Polish President.
In 2003, a new company’s visual identification was introduced and, most of all, a new modernised logo. A new OPOCZNO S.A. Office was also established in Warsaw.
The process of full privatisation was completed in 2004 as a result of the purchase of 99% of company’s shares by the controlling shareholder - Suisse First Boston Ceramic Partners S.á.r.l.
On 19 January 2005, the Supervisory Board accepted the Initial Public Offering for OPOCZNO S.A. shares. The company was floated on 24 June 2005. At 10 a.m. the OPOCZNO S.A. shares were quoted for the first time.
2005 – 2006 was the time of foreign investments. In 2005, the company purchased the controlling stake of JSC “Dvarcioniu Keramika” in Lithuania. In 2006 “Opoczno Ukraina” Sp. z o. o based in Kiev and “Opoczno (Rus)” Sp. z o. o. based in Moscow were registered. OPOCZNO S.A. is the owner of 100% shares of these companies.
At the beginning of 2007, 48.42% of OPOCZNO S.A. shares were purchased by the Cersanit Capital Group, which resulted in merging both companies. On 23 May 2008, the District Court in Kielce entered the Cersanit-OPOCZNO merger into the Register of Entrepreneurs of the National Court Register.
The OPOCZNO Brand with its 125 years long tradition is constantly present on the market providing consumers with new inspirations for interior creations.