Dominó: ceramics of the future

3rd generation of entrepreneurs revitalises a traditional industry

About this project

Dominó is a family firm in Portugal’s Coimbra region that has been producing ceramics for 3 generations. Founded in 1988, it makes floor and wall tiles for construction and decoration. Since 2009, Dominó has been hit hard by the economic crisis. But without lowering wages or laying people off, it has stayed successful by focusing on exports and a skilled workforce.

Carlos Moedas highlights Dominó as a European success story

Commissioner visits tile company which rode out the crisis
Head of Condeixa-a-Nova city council Nuno Moita da Costa, European Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation Carlos Moedas and Dominó chairman João José Xavier

European Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation Carlos Moedas has visited tile company Dominó, in Condeixa-a-Nova, Portugal. The EU sees the firm as an outstanding example of the use of European investment in the country.

After a tour of the factory, Moedas said, “The crisis has shown that Brussels needs to take centre stage again, so that people understand what Europe does and doesn’t do.” He added that Portugal “puts European funds to good use”.

The event was also attended by Dominó chairman João José Xavier and head of Condeixa-a-Nova city council Nuno Moita da Costa.

Funding opportunities for Portuguese firms

Dominó becomes a European success story

Ceramics firm Dominó, from Condeixa-a-Nova, Portugal, has used EU funding well. European support has enabled it to develop new strategies, restructure its product range and get ahead of the curve on international markets.

Economically weaker Member States have benefited most from EU investment. In Portugal, nine agreements with financial intermediaries under the Investment Plan for Europe had been approved by July 2017. These provide a total of €795 million for 1,500 small and medium-sized enterprises and start-ups.

“By investing in higher-risk areas, the EU is showing other public and private investors opportunities to gain access to sectors that are less sought-after because of their innovative nature, or that have longer return-on-investment cycles”, says Catarina Dantas Machado, economic and financial affairs advisor at the European Commission representation in Portugal.

In the photo below: #investEU event in Condeixa-a-Nova, the hometown of Dominó.

Young boss keeps his nerve to revitalise ceramics firm

Dominó overcomes adversity caused by Portugal’s economic crisis
João José Xavier, Chairman of the Board at Dominó, Indústrias Cerâmicas

Portuguese firm Dominó has been in ceramics for three generations. CEO João José Xavier took over the running of the family business from his father before he was even 30. One of his first challenges was to overcome adverse conditions caused by Portugal’s economic and financial crisis, but this never dented his belief that things would pick up. Dominó received EU financial support to revitalise the business and help it find new export markets. The firm made it through the crisis without any lay-offs or pay cuts (the only cuts involved administration). “We received EU funding to make us more competitive. That enabled us to operate in a market as demanding as that of Europe, where the very best in the world of ceramics operate in great numbers. I think the crisis was an opportunity for restructuring and innovation,” says João José Xavier.

Ceramics combining technology and tradition

Dominó is a family firm in the Coimbra region in Portugal that has been producing ceramics for three generations. Founded in 1988, it makes floor and wall tiles for construction and decoration.

Dominó has overcome Portugal’s recent financial and economic difficulties to expand by investing in exports and technology. An EU-backed loan has allowed Dominò to increase its production capacity and to introduce more advanced technology in the manufacturing cycle. Company employees benefit from a new training programme and access to high tech components.  Dominò’s latest project, the development of photovoltaic tiles, is a result of this investment into research and specialisations in the workforce.

Employing around 200 people, Dominó has a strong local presence. With 65% of production sold to 60 countries worldwide, it also contributes to growth in Portuguese exports.

Striking design is another thing the company values. It has gained architects’ and designers’ attention throughout the world with its high-quality and aesthetically unique tiles.

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Project facts


  • Employs around 200 workers
  • Exports 65% of its products
  • Sells to 60 countries on 5 continents
  • Produces 14,000m² of ceramics a day
João José Xavier (CEO)
Portugal, Condeixa, Coimbra
2015 - 2016
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