Neoplanta meat company last year achieved the best results since it became a part of the Nelt Group. In 2011 the company started modernization and adaptation of its meat factory, signed an agreement with Delhaize, exported products to Russia and Croatia, and set the penetration of the African market as a strategic goal.
Boris Macak, CEO of Neoplanta, says to eKapija that the company will be intensively investing in crop farming in addition to cattle breeding.
- What I primarily mean by that is that the surface of cultivable land will be increased by additional 200 hectares, while investments in the renovation of agricultural machinery will be continued.
eKapija: Are you satisfied with operations in 2011?
- I am extremely satisfied with the business results achieved in 2011, which was the most successful year for Neoplanta ever since it joined the Nelt Group. We made some significant progress in the development of fresh meat sales, continued to develop existing young brands, thus maintaining an upward trend of growth, and entered two new markets - Croatia and Russian Federation, which we consider a special success since we are an export-oriented company. All that together contributed to our record sales results. Aside from that, I would also like to stress that we kicked off modernization and adaptation of our factory in the year that represents a turning point in the growth and development of Neoplanta, as well as implementation of several projects aimed at improving energy efficiency.
eKapija: What does modernization and adaptation of the factory concretely mean?
- During the last year, while doing usual operational work, we also launched and implemented to a great extent certain projects that are an integral part of our long-term investment plan, and the most voluminous among them is the adaptation and modernization of the production facility. This project will enable us to harmonize our production with the EU standards, adapt it to the future needs in terms of production capacity, and make it more efficient through optimization of size and arrangement of certain technological departments. We also started to implement a significant number of complex projects aimed at improving energy efficiency, primarily the construction of a new boiler plant, as well as a series of projects on the farm.
eKapija: What is the factory's current capacity and will the reconstruction boost it?
- In primary processing, reconstruction of cooling chambers will facilitate the utilization of full capacity of the slaughterhouse line, meaning that the processing capacity will be boosted by 50%, thus reaching the amount of about 36 tonnes of fresh meat per day. If we are talking about meat products, the current capacity is about 50 tonnes a day. After the reconstruction, it will grow to about 75 tonnes a day.
eKapija: What is the value of that investment?
- The planned value of the investment in works on the reconstruction of the production plant is EUR 3.5 million, while some additional investments will also be made in new equipment and other projects in the pipeline.
eKapija: Who is the contractor?
- Since the tendering process is still underway, contractors have not been appointed yet.
eKapija: When is the project implementation due to end?
- Unless some major surprises occur during the implementation, all works should be completed by the end of 2012, that is, until mid-December.
eKapija: What has been done so far?
- All required technical and technological documentation is prepared, funds for the project implementation are provided, and works on the reconstruction of entire roof on the factory are completed.
eKapija: What will this reconstruction mean for the factory and to what extent will it improve Neoplanta's operations?
- We expect the successfully completed modernization and adaptation of the factory to strengthen our position in the markets we currently operate in and to open up a possibility for us to enter new markets. On the other hand, we will be able to be more competitive, having in mind the improvements regarding the efficiency of technological processes, as well as consumption and fuel management, which is a subject of another project.
eKapija: How much do you invest in cattle breeding? Do you plan some works on the pig farm in Cenej?
- Aside from regular investment maintenance, we plan to continue to modernize equipment and work technology on the farm. Depending on the results of an automatic feeding pilot project, we will decide whether to further expand its implementation. We will also intensively invest in crop farming.
eKapija: What are your plans for the following period?
- We set some ambitious goals at the beginning of 2012. In addition to the implementation of old and new strategic projects and the development of internal processes, we primarily want to maintain an upward trend of growth of both sales and production. Aside from strengthening our positions in the markets we operate in and taking advantage of the retail network of Delhaize as one of the significant factors in the retail market, we will resume our hard work on further development of exports, with a focus on the African market. Our primary strategic goal for this year is to conquer the market of Africa. I believe that a strong penetration of the African market will be a big step forward not only for Neoplanta, but also for the Serbian economy in general.
eKapija: Is the cooperation with Delhaize going to boost Neoplanta's exports?
- Establishment of cooperation with Belgium's Delhaize Group, one of the leading retail market chains in Southeast Europe, is the crown of overall good results achieved last year. I find it very significant because Neoplanta's products can be found again, after a four-year break, in over 400 Tempo and Maxi stores across Serbia, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Montenegro. That will definitely affect both sales in the domestic market and exports to aforementioned countries, and it will also help Neoplanta become the regional leader in the market of meat and meat products.
eKapija: What results did you achieve in the market of Russian Federation?
- We got a permit to export to the market of Russian Federation in April 2011, and the first batch of meat and meat products was shipped to Russia as early as in September. The value of our exports to that country to date amounts to over EUR 1 million.
eKapija: Expansion of retail network is set as one of the main development goals of Neoplanta. What has been done regarding that so far?
- When we speak about Neoplanta's retail network, our focus in 2011 was primarily placed on renovation and modernization of existing facilities, with the aim of increasing the satisfaction of consumers. In this regard, our primary goal was to standardize the visual identity of facilities and classify them into three categories, so that we now have extra, super and typical butcher shops. The difference between them lies in their assortment of products and additional services they offer.