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Dec 27, 2007 16:02 EEST
December 27 (SeeNews) - Bulgarian-Spanish salami maker Karol-Fernandez Meat (KFM) plans to invest more than 10 million euro ($14.5 million) in the next two to three years in a capacity increase to meet rising domestic and export demand and expects to end the year with a 40% rise in sales, a senior official said.
“It is very possible to invest more than over 10 million euro depending on the demand,” KFM executive officer Tonka Traykova told SeeNews in a recent interview.
The company, set up in 2000, currently ranks among the top Bulgarian producers of larded sausages, dried raw sausages and similar delicacies. It is currently exporting to Greece, Cyprus, Belgium and the United Kingdom and is planning further expansion abroad.
“All markets are interesting for us. We have plenty of queries, including from countries of the former Soviet Union,” Traykova said.
“We are definitely planning to invest in the future as we have a quite big production area,” she added.
The company has a 12,000 square metre-production unit, located on a total area of 34,000 square metres in the southwestern town of Blagoevgrad. The plant works at full capacity and produces between 50 and 55 tonnes a day.
“We consider it totally realistic in the next two years to raise capacity by 50 tonnes,” Traykova said.
KFM has spent over 16 million euro to upgrade the plant since its start-up in 2000, of which 10 million euro was in the past couple of years. The plant was formerly owned by Bulgarian meat producer Karol, which set up the 50:50 joint venture of KFM together with Spanish family firm Manuel Fernandez.
KFM also plans to develop a network of logistics units in the country and abroad.
“Our budget for building logistics bases is around 8.0 million levs for the next four years,” Traykova said and added that the company will aim to build such units in Bulgaria’s key regions.
The company expects a robust rise in sales figures this year backed by the rising demand in local and foreign markets. In 2006, it reported a 25% rise in sales on the year, Traykova said, but gave no figure.
“For this year, figures are more optimistic […] Having in mind that December is the strongest month, I think we could see a rise of 40%,” she added.
“I think we could reach sales of 35 million euro this year.”
KFM reported a 32% rise in sales for the ten months through October.
“For next year – we have to see how the competition will be developing. However, if we don’t achieve such a rise, we will be happy with 10% growth,” Traykova said.
KFM (www.karol-fernandez.com) has a portfolio of over 140 products and on the local market it competes with Bella Bulgaria, Tandem and Bravo, among others.
There are 170 meat-processing companies in the country and analysts have said they should consolidate to stay competitive in the EU, with more rivals expected to enter the market. Bulgaria joined the EU in January.
($ = 0.6897 euro)
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