Source: eKapija | Wednesday, 04.07.2018.| 10:13
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Djordje Popovic, General Manager for Laundry and Home Care at Henkel Serbia – We are continuing to expand production capacities in Krusevac

Djordje Popovic
Since their operations started in 2002, when Merima Krusevac was privatized, Henkel has invested more than EUR 200 million in the market, new factories and the regional logistics center and then in numerous projects of the modernization and upgrading of the production technology. The production capacities have also been consistently expanded, and their growth has been accompanied by the development of the production portfolio. Today, Krusevac features factories of powder and liquid detergents, a factory of toilet fresheners and also a new Somat factory since April.

– Henkel has brought modern technology and numerous innovations to Serbia, while also keeping the Serbian tradition. Globally renowned Henkel brands are produced in Krusevac – Djordje Popovic, General Manager for Laundry and Home Care at Henkel Serbia, says in his interview with eKapija.

Our interviewee also announces further expansion of production capacities and new investments, and another reason for the interview was the Superbrands award the company won recently.

eKapija: What is the place of the Serbian part of the company in Henkel's global plans?

– Our factory in Krusevac has a strategic importance for Henkel, considering that 70 million consumers in the region are supplied from this location and that the factory exports to over 36 regional, European and world markets. Continued investments in the growth of the production and the storage capacities, such as the opening of new factories and the regional logistics center, confirm this.

Following the company's sustainable business strategy, our factories in Krusevac have managed to considerably cut down on the consumption of water and power and the production of waste. Henkel's plant in Krusevac is the first one in Serbia to get the ISO 50001 energy efficiency certificate, as well as the international Gold LEED certificate for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. In addition to these achievements, employees at Henkel Serbia have received numerous awards handed out by Henkel within the company. We are especially proud of the success of our team, which has been among the three most successful ones in its category, Laundry and Home Care, at Henkel for three years in a row.

eKapija: We are halfway through 2018. How satisfied are you with the business results in the past six months?

– Within our sectors, we operate with consumer goods and also directly with customers, representatives of certain industries. Despite the challenging conditions in the market, our business sectors also manage to maintain and enhance their positions, especially thanks to the innovation in brands that consumers trust. I can therefore say that Henkel Serbia has realized satisfactory business results in the first six months of the current year, and we will strive towards a further realization of the plans for 2018.

eKapija: Henkel Serbia recently opened a new Somat plant in Krusevac. What are the company's further plans? Can new investments in the production be expected?

– The Somat plant began working in April. It's an investment worth EUR 20 million, which has introduced an entirely new product in the market – Somat tabs with degradable foil for dish-washing machines. In early 2018, the third phase of the expansion of the regional storage was completed, bringing it up to as many as 20,000 square meters and 15 truck ramps. Further plans are oriented towards a continuation of the expansion of production and storage capacities, which entails new investments.

Persil brand – winner of Superbrands Serbia 2017-2018 award
eKapija: Does this mean that there will be new employments?

– Henkel Serbia currently employs around 400 workers in three locations and, depending on the demand, we hire additional workforce. Continual investments in the professional development of employees is one of the key values of our company. Our varied organizational structure provides employees with various opportunities for career development. As for the employment of new workforce, it will go along with the development and the investments in our production location in Krusevac.

eKapija: Henkel is one of the leading exporters from Serbia. How do you remain competitive in the local and the foreign markets?

– Thanks to the said investments and the constant growth of the production at our plants in Krusevac, today, as I've mentioned, we export to more than 36 regional, European and world markets. In the first five months of 2018, our exports earned us the 13th spot on the list of exporters from Serbia and we believe that we will have the opportunity to further improve this result in the future. Meeting consumers' expectations, providing top product quality and implementing innovations, something that characterizes our company both in the local market and in the global one, are the factors that set us apart from the competition. Persil, one the oldest Henkel brands, with a tradition of over a century, is a source of innovations and quality in over 50 states in the world. In Serbia, Persil is the leading brand when it comes to sales in the category of universal liquid detergents, and this year, it won the Superbrands Serbia award in the category of house cleaning products in the Serbian market. We are especially proud of the local brand Merix, a laundry detergent with a tradition of over 30 years, which keeps being recognized by consumers and experts through My Choice and The Best from Serbia awards year after year, and when it comes to the category of toilet fresheners, our Bref ranks as the best sold brand in the local market.

eKapija: How important is the Superbrands award for you?

– The Superbrands award, as well as other acknowledgments we receive each year, are the best confirmation of the quality of our brands and the trust of our customers, for which we are very grateful. At the same time, this is a recognition of our team, which continuously recognizes the needs of its consumers and meets their expectations through dedicated work. We will continue investing in digitalization and advanced technologies, as well as in innovative ideas which improve our products.

eKapija: How important is social responsibility for the company's operations? Which projects and activities does your company support?

– Henkel's corporate culture entails socially responsible operations and initiation of numerous CSR projects everywhere in the world, including Serbia. Our employees, who volunteer and initiate various socially useful activities, aiming to improve local communities, play a big role in this. We are proud of the projects we realize together with our business partners, such as, for example, the program realized in cooperation with DIS, within which we provided maternity wards in Smedervska Palanka, Krusevac, Cacak and Nis with valuable donations, enabling better conditions of mother and child care. This March, we donated syringe pumps for the treatment of the youngest patients to the Mother and Child Health Care Institute in cooperation with Lilly Drogerie. The donated equipment is necessary for adequate treatment of prematurely born babies and babies suffering from severe illnesses, and we will certainly continue realizing these and similar projects in the future.
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