New unit reinforces the production capacity of the company from Felgueiras, which starts to produce 25 thousand pairs of soles a day. Hired 44 people.

Vapesol, a company from Felgueiras specialized in the production of soles for footwear, invested two million euros in a new factory exclusively dedicated to the production of EVA soles, a synthetic foam that combines its extreme lightness (they are 70% lighter than conventional soles) to comfort, which has generated enormous demand in recent years.

The new factory also has the particularity of allowing 100% reuse of EVA waste, reincorporating it into production. “As far as I know, we are the only company to do this in all of Europe, through an innovative process, developed in partnership with several entities of the scientific and technological system, and which is properly patented”, says Décio Pereira, CEO of Vapesol.

In full operation since February, the new factory operates six days a week, in three shifts, and employs 50 people, 44 of whom were hired for the purpose, and allows the production of 4,000 pairs of soles a day. In total, Vapesol has around 160 workers, needed to keep the two units working 24 hours a day.

In addition, Décio Pereira invested around 1,250 million euros in the acquisition of equipment for its main unit, for the injection of thermoplastic rubber soles and in TPU (thermoplastic polyurethane), but in three colors, “a market niche with great been looking for in recent years”.

With a total production capacity that now exceeds 25,000 soles a day, Vapesol exports 10% of what it produces directly, but indirect exports – many of its customers subcontract the production of footwear in Portugal – exceed 90%, with special emphasis on the countries of Western Europe. “But I have noticed a special demand from eastern countries, such as Slovenia, the Czech Republic and Poland, and from the Nordic countries”, explains the businessman. The USA, Australia, Colombia, Mexico and India are other important markets for the company which, in 2021, earned more than 23 million euros, reaching its second best mark ever (in 2017 it sold more than 24 million).

In the first four months of 2022, it is already growing by 26%, which gives great encouragement to the initial forecast of the company that intends to end the year with a gain of between 25 and 30%. “The prospects are very encouraging”, admits Décio Pereira, but the great uncertainty in the world of raw materials is something that worries the manager.

“The instability brings speculation and there are some products that have doubled. Most increases are around 50%. Often we have closed contracts and when we go to buy raw materials they have already skyrocketed and this ends up having to be absorbed by the companies’ margins”, says the businessman, recalling that energy costs “almost tripled”, which forced Vapesol to review its tables. “It was a small correction, but it had to be done. But it is only for new orders, it would not be ethical or professional to apply it to contracts already closed”, he emphasizes.