Rafael Willisch, Finsa UK, Birkenhead

Tell us about your company?

Finsa is a leading European manufacturer of MDF (medium-density fibreboard) with more than 3,000 employees across Europe and a turnover in excess of 700 euros. Our interests in the United Kingdom are represented by Finsa UK Ltd which has been established in Wirral for more than twenty years.  In Wirral we handle more than 4,000 truckloads of cargo and 35 vessels per year through our warehouse based in Birkenhead docks, employing 21 people directly as well as local transport companies for the delivery of our goods across the United Kingdom and local contractors for the handling of our cargo in the port.  Some of our products have been used in projects for prestigious companies such as Marriot Hotels, Premier Inn, Heathrow Airport, Tesco, Ministry of Defense, and HP Headquarters.  We proudly supply our products to top name British companies such B&Q, Howdens Joinery, Symphony Kitchens to name just a few from a customer base comprising more than 400 companies across the country.  Despite the recession and the economic difficulties that most of our industry suffers, we have managed to increase our turnover consistently over the last few years and have expanded our business with the recent addition of Finsahome, which supplies kitchens and laminate flooring to both public and trade as a multichannel platform from our retail/trade unit at Ocean Park in Birkenhead.  We have also enhanced sales from our website www.finsahome.co.uk. Our plan is to expand this area of our business to other parts of the United Kingdom, but keeping our headquarters and main distribution centre here in Wirral.

Where do you want the business to be in two years?

We are at a time when we can grow our business considerably and we expect Finsa UK Ltd to increase our existing turnover by no less than 15% by 2014. On top of that we are establishing Finsahome Ltd nationwide, opening our second branch in Birmingham in January 2014 followed by two new branches in Southern England by 2015.

What is your background?

My home town is Santiago de Compostela in Spain, a city which has its origin in the shrine of St James the Great, now the city's cathedral, as a destination of the Way of St James, a leading Catholic pilgrimage route originated in the 9th century. The city's Old Town was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987.  It was in the University of Santiago de Compostela where I completed a BsEc in Economics followed by an MBA in Marketing, joining  Finsa shortly after that. During my time with the company I had spells in Santiago de Compostela and Barcelona, Scariif (Ireland), London and Merseyside.  As my wife is from Wirral I finally decided to change Barcelona - where I was based before coming  to Merseyside - for Wirral!!!

"...we can grow our business considerably and we expect Finsa UK Ltd to increase our existing  turnover by no less than 15% by 2014."

If you could suggest something to government which would help your business growth what would it be?

The Government should improve lending and facilitate access to mortgages. This could have an immediate effect on the housing market and construction as a consequence.

 What do you do to relax away from the office?

I am not quite sure if the time you spend with a toddler accounts as a relaxing time away from the office but I have one at home.

What hobbies do you have?

I used to have some but, as I highlighted before, my little girl is keeping me quite busy at present so no time for regular hobbies I am afraid.

Have you any hidden talents that we don't know about?

I am sure, as many parents have experienced, I discovered that I can watch Toy Story, Shrek, and Snow White several times and still been able to follow the films until the end.

What one piece of advice would you give an 18 years old Rafael Willisch starting out today?

The difference between a successful career and a mediocre one sometimes consists of leaving about four or five things a day unsaid.

Any final thoughts?

If you need a new kitchen or laminate flooring go to our website (www.finsahome.co.uk) or visit our branch in Birkenhead - we would be delighted to see you - and compare our prices against those of the national DIY chains.

Finsa UK is great example of on an overseas buisness setting up and then successfuly developing its growth plan in Wirral, and is now looking at further expansion on a nationwide basis - if you would like to find out more about Finsa UK and its operations please visit its website.




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