Source: eKapija | Monday, 20.03.2017.| 12:53
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April to see Nelli opening new plant totaling EUR 3 m - Loznica-based plant is starting exports to Belarus and Armenia and announces distribution center construction

Inless than a month, confectionery plant Nelli will open a new plant in Loznicawhere it poured EUR 3 m in its construction and equipping. It will produce 40new chocolates with various flavors - creamy nougat, chopped hazelnuts, rice,crispy, tutti-frutti, biscuits, chocolate filled with milk and a variety offillings, as well as in different grammage - 5g, 25g, 35g, 80g, 100g and 250g.In addition, the company is also winning new markets and only a few days ago,they contracted exports to Belarus and Armenia.

Allchocolates with a new line will be called Nelli, just like their manufacturer,and Loznica-based factory will, after new plant starts, which is expected bythe beginning of April, will produce of approximately 100 different products intotal.

-Production increase will enable us to be ready for the Russian market - MitarObradović, owner of Nelli, said in an interview for eKapija.

-For example, on an hourly basis, we will be able to produce 40,000 pieces ofchocolate bars for espresso coffee with rice and crispy, and 10,000 pieces ofchocolate of 100 grams – Obradovic explains.

Thenew plant, located next to the existing plant of 8,000 m2, will cover 1,500 m2,and new equipment - with automatic line of 150m, acquired by Italian companyCarle & Montanari and Swiss Ilapak. After the opening, Nelli will be ableto produce 25 tons of chocolate a day and about 8,000 tons annually.

Within Nelli complex, where Moda textile factory used to be, there is still asupermarket on 1,000 m2, business facilities, as well as printing firm that producesall packaging for Nelli, but also for other clients.

(Newline of chocolate) Apart from new plant, distribution center will also open inLoznica and as Obradovic says, the plan is also to build a distribution centerin Belgrade. They are still looking for land for that facility, and it is plannedto be placed in Zeleznik, towards the highway to central Serbia.

Ourinterlocutor points out that it is not yet satisfied with brand positioning andthe company will do everything possible to improve it.

The only company from Yugoslavia in Russian tradingchains X5

Nelli contracted cooperation with Russian trading chain X5, whichhas 9.000 markets and soon their shelves will contain products of Loznica-basedcompany – chocolate banana and Kids chocolate. Nelli is the only company from formerYugoslavia whose products will be distributed to X5 supermarkets.

In order to cooperate with the Russians, Nelli implemented allstandards – HACCP, ISO 9001, etc. Thefirst step in conquering the Russian market was made in 2011 when Nelli presenteditself at the World Food Moscow Fair, one of the biggest food fairs in theworld.

Apart from in these countries, Nelli also exports to Bosniaand Herzegovina, Macedonia, Montenegro, Croatia, Albania and Romania and nowthey have also contracted exports to Belarus and Armenia.

Mitar Obradovic at the EY Entrepreneur of the year Award
- InSerbia, the problem is that we do not have enough capacity to produce as muchas necessary for the Russian market. Our analysis has shown that the Russianshave a taste and habits similar to our people, and that they buy candy productssimilar to ours. Therefore, we are focused on them and neighboring countries.Markets of Austria and Germany are not yet ready to accept products from Serbiabecause they have different taste, e.g. their chocolate banana has a lot morecitric acid than ours - Mitar Obradovic considers.

Obradovic, as he says, opted for exports to Russia and ex-Yucountries also for the fact that Serbia has customs and CEFTA agreements whichenable cheaper products on shelves.

At the moment, Nelli exports 50% of its production, butObradovic expects that Russian market growth increases exports to 70 %.

Otherwise, in addition to its own brand, Nelli also produces private brands, which take about 5% of production. Cooperation is also signed with Plodine in Croatia, Gomex and Delhaize in Serbia, etc. Still, company policy is to force development of own brand while private label production is only a supplement, Obradovic says.

They buy local raw material

Our source believes that the Serbian market has a lot ofgood confectionary producers, and that competition is big but there is lowerquality in neighboring countries and that an opportunity is in export.

Kids chocolate for the Russian market

– For someone to step into Nelli with another raw material, it is necessary to pass required laboratory analysis. We bought our own laboratory which we paid EUR 50,000 which will start with the control of all products – Obradovic added.

How it all started – family business

In 1993, Mile Prom shop was opened by Todor Obradovic, Mitar’s father, with oneemployee. Since then, Mitar Obradovic has been in family entrepreneurship. Ashe says, if you sell food it is logical that at one moment you get the idea ofproducing it as well.

- I went into this story with 8 workers, the first year weproduced 100 tons of chocolate and had three products - cream bananas, pralinesand jelly bunny. Now, in addition to cream bananas and pralines, we producedifferent kinds of jelly, jelly bunny, Kids chocolate, chocolates, mignoncubes, jelly beans, caramel, bars filled with a variety of tastes, Turkishdelight, etc. Total capacity is much larger – now we produce 1,550 tonsannually and employ 250 people. The team that I chose is young, I plan toexpand and work with them for 20 years more. My job somehow became a kind ofenjoyment – Obradovic says.

Owner of Nelli holding company and all of its membercompanies is Mitar Obradovic, who is also the director of the holding company, Nelliconfectionery and printing house. Head of Mile Prom trading houses is TodorObradovic.

Nelli won numerous fair award for product quality, and this year Mitar Obradovic was nominated for EY Entrepreneur of the Year. According to him, prizes mean to him as medals do for athletes". Among them, he would particularly set aside European Awards for 2017 which was delivered to him in Zagreb by British Ambassador for national champion of Serbia in food and beverages production.

Sanja Sojic

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