Manager of exiting Cartago firm unhappy with government regulations

Fernando Altmann, the general manager of the Cartago firm  Florexpo, was at the legislature Tuesday to complain about plant health rules and government paperwork that were among the reason that the company is moving to Guatemala.

The firm has been in the news because 400 employees will lose their jobs. Florexpo says it is a global leader in the production of unrooted cuttings based in Paraiso.

The sale of the company to Dümmen Orange earlier this year is yet another reason that the business is moving.

Dümmen Orange already has facilities in Guatemala, and it is combining the business in Antigua. The transition of  production of all Florexpo products will be finalized by April, the new owner said.  That firm has 6,000 employees worldwide.

Altmann spoke before the legislative Comisión Especial Investigadora de la provincia de Cartago. He told lawmakers that the firm’s growth is based on the importation of new varieties of plants but that changes in legislation and in the interpretation of rules have made bringing in new species impossible.

He said that plant inspectors take 25 days to do their job and by that time 25 percent of the imported plants are lost.

Altmann is of the family that founded the company 27 years ago as a small operation. It has grown to be in the top 10 plant cutting producers in the world, according to Greenhouse Growers Magazine. He is lucky because he will continue to hold a position in the company.

The magazine also noted that the location of the plant production farm in Paraiso has become surrounded by residential areas and it makes sense for the family to sell off the land as lots.

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