Managing directors, led by the oldest, Milan Juraić (1975-1984), fertilizer production directors, technical directors, board members, and former workers, all those who had witnessed the emergence of the first Urea in Petrokemija that night 50 years ago, gathered in our company restaurant to celebrate this great anniversary. This meeting is the first in a series of events marking the 50 years of operation of our company.
Dragutin Pasarić, journalist, publicist and historian, a long-time head of the Information and Public Relations Department at Petrokemija, initially gave a historical overview of the making of the factory and the preceding events. "When the building had started, we were not aware of what Petrokemija and Kutina would turn into in the years to come," Pasarić said, adding that few towns in Croatia have such bond with their companies as Petrokemija does.
Boris Mesarić, President of the Management Board from 2001 to 2010, welcomed the meeting on behalf of the guests. "Each of us can talk of Petrokemija for days on end; it is far more than an ordinary factory. There is a sign of equality between the city of Kutina and Petrokemija, and there is a long list of what Petrokemija has given to Kutina and Croatia over the past 50 years," he said. He pointed out the Homeland War and the role of the company at that time, which was beyond measure. "Petrokemija is absolutely a company of strategic interest to Croatia and it has always been," concluded Mesarić.
Mijo Šepak welcomed all on behalf of the Supervisory Board, as its chairman, and thanked all those who contributed to the last half a century of continuous mineral fertilizer production in Kutina. Every production is important, emphasized Šepak, but we cannot live without food, so the production of ‘feed for food’ is of particular importance. "I have the feeling that you have been struggling all these 50 years to make others realize the importance of this production, "he said.
"I do not dare to speak about history, and I am not going to, because everything has already been said," President of the Board, Đuro Popijač began in his address. He greeted once again all the present guests, and especially the ex-workers who on 18 March 1968, had been among those who produced the first grains of Urea: Božidar Cesar, Vladimir Pogačić and Zlatko Nemet. "All of you, as well as those who are not with us today, have built their lives into a grand project," said the President. Talking about the present moment of Petrokemija and what is to be expected in the future, he mentioned a number of issues, from the price of gas and its transportation to the drop in consumption of mineral fertilizers.
"Here is where we are. The recapitalization itself will not solve anything, but it will create the assumptions for the necessary changes. In this, we have the support of the Croatian Government. This is the only serious industrial entity that has remained in Croatia and its disappearance would be a heavy blow to the whole country. We must not allow it and do everything possible to ensure Petrokemija's long-term future", Popijač concluded.
After the end of the formal part of the ceremony, we asked former workers to remember what it was like 50 years ago, when our factory was starting production and its life. " Twelve of us were working the second shift and when it all started, there was a total silence. We were anxious to see what would happen and whether Urea would start. When it finally got through, we were delighted because we had achieved the goal after so much time preparing and work on that facility. In the morning, when workers from other plants were going home, no one took the road, but they all went by the warehouse to make sure Urea was actually produced", said Božidar Cesar and Vladimir Pogačić.