Source: Blic | Thursday, 01.01.1970.| 10:05
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The biggest shopping mall in the Balkans, in Belgrade – Italian “Barletta Group” is ready for big investments in Serbia

Right now, we are looking for locations in Europe which woul suit us best for investing. Soon, we will come to Belgrade to see wheather there is some land which would be suitable for a large distributive center. I think Serbia is an interesting market for investing, and you also have good link with the countries from the East. So far we are pleased with conversations we had with your Minister, Giorgio Barletta stated for “Blic”, the owner of the same named business group, one the largest and most respected in Italy.

Mr.Barletta lives and works in the triangle of Milan-Rome-Caserta. This sixty year old man is very respecred in Italy, in Campania, where Napels is the capital. He represents for Campanians a symbol of quiet, calm and very successful man that keeps to himself. One member delegation from Serbia, lead by Slobodan Milosavljevic, senor Giorgio hosted in a small town Caserta, close to Napels, a place famous for its extraordinary king palace from 18th century, but also a place known in our history as a point where Chercil and Tito meat in 1944. Cordial and spontanious as a host, and operatively efficient as a businessman, Mr.Barletta talked to Minister Milosavljevic on one afternoon. For continuation of the talks he chose two of his closest associates: his personal advisor and his son-in-law, and he flew to Milan where he was suppose to sign a contract worth over half a billion euros. Serbia’s interests, beside the Minister, represented Antonio Skaki, a lover of our country and a businessman from Lombardia, who has been organizing already for a long time, big Italian companies’ meetings with us, and also Vladimir Potparevic, hydro-engineer working in the energy sector mostly with foreign businessmen.

Grandious shopping mall

“Barletta Group” is made of 20 companies, working in real estate sector, goods transportation, realization of commercial and intermodular centers, construction and maintenance of railway vehicles. Still, the biggest impression leaves a commercial center “Campania” in the suburb of Napels. We cannot compare its size to any mall in Serbia. It spreads on 357.000 square meters, representing one of the most significant objects, in size, purpose and architectural quality, in comparison to other constructions in Italy, objects purposed for shopping and free activities. There are 180 stores in Campania, of the national and international brands, spreaded on 2 levels. It litterarily means that there isn’t a known brand that it is not placed with a store in this shopping mall.

All at one place, “Disney” store for the youngest ones, H&M, Benetton, large number of perfume shops, exclusive swatches stores and yewellery stores. All this situated in kilometers of commercial galleries. The mall has 7.000 parking places, 4 passages, direct entrance from the paytoll of the highway, “Cerrefour” hypermarket, 25 restaurants and a bar, one movie theatre, playground for children. For only a year, this mall is visited by 9 million people. And there can be found something for everyone. The restaurants are concepted in such way that there’s food for everyone’s pocket. The only problem may represent the language. No matter how many people you ask about directons and positions of some stores, all in English, there is little chance someone might be able to help you. Very few Italians in the South speaks any other language except the mother tounge. Minister Milosavljevic talked about building a similar commercial-distributive center in Serbia.

Location in Belgrade

In only two days, Italians made a touring program for almost all sectors “Barletto Group” is involved with. One of the reasons of tight schedule was that the Italians thought our Minister and officials had a lot of work, and their visit could not last more than 48 hours

- We have seen one very successful model of a shopping mall and the owners expressed their wish to do the same thing in Serbia. We saw the whole system of work of this distributive center, delivery of goods, guarding, transport and sales in the very center. Conversations will probably be continued after New Year’s Eve. We will prepare ourselves for their visit with all information they might need, and we will show them several locations in Belgrade, as present management of the city can secure 60 days deadline for signing of the contract until all the paperwork is done and before the construction begins. This is a condition of “Barletto” group. With this, by only one project, our market will get tenths of world famous producers and brands which would for sure help bring out the competition, asd Minister Milosavljevic estimated.

The second large investment of Barletto group is “Interport Sud Europa”. System project is of great national importance and one of the biggest in Italy. It’s part of the National integral transportation system, organizing all goods transport, and planned by the General transportation plan. Intermodal center is in the center of Campania, and spreads on 4 million square meters, on the crossroad A1-A30 of the south highway system, where two railway lines are passing, which take the goods and deliver them on 7 terminals. Because of this, Giorgio Barletta is opened to invest also in the sector of construction, all kinds of transportation and logistics of that job.

The business in transportation sector within the group is managed by Giancarlo Cangiano, the son-in-law of Giorgio Barletta. Dynamic, opened and cordial, Giancarlo is the champion in fast boats called “formula 1 on the water”. He also had on this occasion a role of unofficial translator from Italian to English. He was on the constant phone connection with his boss and father-in-law. At the end of our visit, personally pleased, he stated:

- Giorgio confirms that we will come to Belgrade to continue our talks and I am looking forward to that.

Milosavljevic gave a present to his hosts, a monography “Serbia”. After that Giancarlo insisted they would visit a showrom and Marinella store. It was a company that manufactured ties, umbrellas and similar clothing objects. Outside of this store, we saw two lines, one being in front of the theatre, which was a reality of Napoles in this 24 rainy hours. The security at the entrance was taking care of the crowd, which was waiting to buy a present with the logo of this company. Giancarlo explained that their ties were wornd by the Prime Minister Berluskoni, and he gave one of them as a gift to Minister Milosavljevic, showing pleasure from their meeting and promising further talks about business.

Cooperation of Italy and Serbia

A person who organized all meetings between officials from Serbia and businessmen in Italy, in the last 6 months, is Antonio Skaki, who is a successful businessman himself, and who organized this 2-day stay and meetings in Napels. He has his own explaination why Serbia is a good place for potential investors.

- I like the spirit and character of the people of Serbia. It is also important in our decision where to invest the money. I believe that it is the best to have a relation which is not only official, cold. Sometimes it needs to be little bit warm and humane, as Skaki explains.

He also considers that Serbian market has a good perspective, and he expects concrete cooperation to develop out of this visit. Besides investments in trade and transport, Italian businessmen are interested to invest in the resources of reusable energy, which a speciality of Mr. Skaki himself.

- Serbia has a lot of unused energetic potential. There is no free land for building in Italy. Everything has been used, amd for sure we will continue conversation in the cominf year in Milan, about investing in the energy sector of Serbia, Skaki said.

He announced arrival and meeting with Mr. Formigoni, President of Lombardia region, one of the most richest in Europe, with President Tadic. Obviously all future and present contacts can bring a profit to investor, and a lot of good to us.

- We should be aware that we are in big financial crisis, shaking up the whole world, and we in Serbia need to fight for each investor ready to invest. A shopping mall like this can mean openning of new working places. If we are slow, they will go to our neighbours to Romania, or Hungary. Our interest is for those big investors to come, and this group is big in its sector, as Minister Milosavljevic concludes.

(the text is entirely taken from Blic newspapers, from December, 23rd, 2008)

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