After year and half of painstaking work on preparation of documentation and harmonization of standards, Kragujevac-based furniture manufacturer "Forma ideale" has signed the contract with European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) on investments worth 7m EUR in the form of a share in capital. The contract was signed on November 18th, and the company's management is of the opinion that that date is going to become a part of the history of "Forma Ideale", which grew from a common trade workshop into a significant exporter within only 17 years of existence.
Export promotion is the basic segment of the contract, while the enlargement of production and distribution capacities represents the first step in realization of that project. That is why "Forma ideale" will start construction of a large distribution center in Lapovo within the next two years, as well as a new furniture factory in Kragujevac, in the principal location of the company, in old industrial zone of the city.
– The funds obtained from EBRD will be used for construction of a distribution center in Lapovo, at about 25,000 square meters, and a modern factory in Kragujevac, which will occupy the surface of 20,000 square meters after the first phase of construction. All in all, that should result in creation of about 450 new jobs. Our intention is to increase export within the next five years and become a company that exports 80% of production, instead of current 50%, to foreign markets – Vladimir Lazarević, the Director General of "Forma Ideale", told "Politika".
According to the Executive Director of that factory, Aleksandar Smiljanić, Lapovo has been selected because of the efficiency of municipal administration, which has already managed to bring company "Kronospan", one of the world's largest manufacturers of plywood panels, to this town with about 12,000 inhabitants.
– Cooperation with "Kronospan", our future neighbor in Lapovo, will result in double benefit. Transportation costs will be, practically, reduced to none and, instead of import, export will be in the focus of both our company and the whole wood-processing sector of Serbia, which will be creating surplus in foreign-trade exchange – Smiljanić explains.
"Forma ideale" was founded in 1992. Only few carpenters were working in a small workshop at the time. Today this company from Kragujevac owns two production centers - in Kragujevac and Majdanpek, and it has 1,218 employees. The company's relation towards them, primarily in the field of industrial safety, was one of the preconditions for cooperation with European Bank.
– EBRD's investment in "Forma Ideale" is the result of our correct relations towards employees and business partners, that is, long-time operations according to European standards. If there was not for that, we would have never become the first wood-processing company in Serbia to sign the contract with EBRD – Lazarević pointed out.
According to the words of Executive Director Smiljanić, when it comes to the plans for the local market, "Forma ideale" plans to expand its product portfolio. In that way, this company will become more competitive than the foreign companies that are interested in investing in Serbia.
(Note: complete text is taken over from newspaper "Politika" of November 30, 2009)