Panos Xenokostas

FOUNDER & CEO OF ONEX TECHNOLOGY GROUP OF COMPANIES

Greece 2020  I  Shipping  I  Interview

BIOGRAPHY He is a former Air Force Officer with BA in Aerospace Engineering AND MBA in IUKB Swiss University. He is an international entrepreneurial player specialized in diversified industries and investments such as Aviation, Nanotechnology, ICT, Defense & Security, Maritime and Energy. HE was awarded in 2014 & 2015 as one of the 10 Best Entrepreneurs in the European Business Awards contest.

“OUR VISION IS TO CREATE A GLOBAL BRAND RECOGNIZED FOR BEING SECOND TO NONE IN SHIP REPAIRING. WE ENVISION ACQUIRING FIVE TO SIX DIFFERENT SHIPYARDS TO BE ABLE TO OFFER THE SAME SERVICES TO OUR CLIENTS EVERYWHERE IN THE WORLD.”

CAN YOU TELL US MORE ABOUT YOUR MOTIVATION TO ESTABLISH ONEX TECHNOLOGY GROUP OF COMPANIES?

 

The Group, which was established in 2004, focused on providing solutions to global problems. With a skilled and experienced team, we have decided to place innovation at the center of our activities. Our operations have been focused mostly on technology systems & business solutions. We have been very successful in system integration and in providing unique solutions always tailor-made e.g., 10 years ago, we created the largest scale digitization center in Greece.

 

Following a thorough discussion with the team regarding the future prospects of the sector and possible ways we could add value, we decided that it would be wise to invest and enter the sector of material science and especially the Nanotechnology market. We focused on licensing and selling nanotechnology solutions to other manufacturers, which we successfully achieved through innovative products. We managed to produce the very first quantities of the highest purity, nanotubes worldwide, and invested in a state-of-the-art laboratory for nanomaterial, which has been recognized as one of the best in the region. This was a very innovative step for us, as we became directly involved in nano-manufacturing and have invested in establishing the first nanotube industry in the region

 

The market return was very positive, and we have expanded our activities through the acquisition of one of the most experienced teams in the region in telecommunications engineering and consulting. Our system integration team is one of the strongest in the region. We have delivered unique customized solutions covering critical sectors like IT, Business Process Outsourcing, Security and Defense.

 

In 2013, we moved forward with our international expansion plans and established the offices of ONEX Technologies Inc. in New York and a new representation office in Brussels. The Group’s performance and achievements allowed ONEX to be selected as one of the final 100 Best European Companies in 2014. We are very proud to say that our team -- during challenging times in global, regional and local level -- prevailed over its competitors and prospered having human development as its main focus.

 

WHAT WERE THE MAIN REASONS BEHIND THE GROUP'S DECISION TO INVEST IN SHIPYARDS IN GREECE?

 

During the past ten years, we have been owners of a small shipyard in Greece. This experience has allowed us to learn and understand the challenges and opportunities in this sector. Most importantly, we have been able to understand what the clients are looking for in shipyards. By analyzing the international shipyard market, we discovered that the competition has mostly been based on low wages’ advantages, which has dramatically benefited Asia due to much lower wages status. Furthermore, in every shipyard my team and I have visited, we found that the owners and management were focused more on their short term profit plans than on their customers’ satisfaction, delivery times and quality.

 

 

“WE HAVE IDENTIFIED AN OPPORTUNITY

TO MAKE THINGS DIFFERENT THROUGH AN

INNOVATIVE APPROACH TO THE SHIPYARD

BUSINESS BY PUTTING OUR CLIENTS

AT THE CENTER OF OUR OPERATIONS.”

 

 

We have identified an opportunity to make things different through an innovative approach to the shipyard business by putting our clients at the center of our operations. In essence, Greece is not the cheapest country to operate a shipyard. Still, it has unique advantages such as strategic location and a highly skilled workforce which are highly appreciated by our clients. We also wanted to raise the bar by making it similar to the very competitive aviation sector western economies have. Previously, it was common practice in the market for clients to wait long periods of time and pay prices higher than agreed on their contracts, which is totally unacceptable for customers in a very cost-intensive sector. We have decided to implement a transparent framework with our clients and always honor our commitment and engagements.

 

Our philosophy, strictly related to productivity and performance, is to be responsible for the local communities where we operate. We chose to provide higher wages and benefits to our employees so they and their families can have a better quality of life in addition to benefiting the local economy, and creating a favorable economic cycle. We have been happy and proud to see the increased commitment of our employees in providing world-class quality services which in turn have been well received by our customers.

 

WITH A CLEAR STRATEGY, YOU HAVE BEEN ABLE TO GROW FASTER SURPASSING BY 25-30% OTHER SHIPYARDS IN THE REGION. WHAT IS THE FUTURE FOR THE SHIPYARDS DIVISION?

We have already serviced 125 ships in 2019 and didn't have any delays in our delivery times. With a tailor-made approach to each client, we have been able to increase our operations organically. Today, our main priority is to make the shipyard more competitive and reduce further delivery times. With a bold investment plan that includes new buildings and renewed focus to accept defense contracts and special purpose vessels, we are confident that our revenues will reach US$ 55 million in 2020, which is 12% of shipyard’s past capacity.

 

Ultimately our vision is to create a global brand recognized for being second to none in ship repairing. We envision acquiring five to six different shipyards to be able to offer the same services to our clients everywhere in the world. We strongly believe in the capability of our Greek workforce and consider them to be the best in the world in this sector. We are investing in developing our employees' capabilities even further focusing on more specific skills to adapt to the latest technologies and market needs.

 

Last but not least, I would like to point out that ONEX is its people. I am grateful and proud for our Group’s people who I consider to be my family.