♦ The company received state aid of over 4.6 million euros for investments ♦ Gusto fluffs arrive in about 40 international markets in 2021, and the debut on the Japanese market was a success ♦ Phoenixy achieved a turnover of over 32 million euros in 2020, with a profit margin of 11%.
The manufacturer of Gusto fluffs will invest over 10 million euros in 2021 and 2022 in expanding the production capacity of the factory located in Băicoi, Prahova, in order to launch new assortments, in the context in which the company was approved a state aid of over 4 , 6 million euros at the end of last year, explained Eliodor Apostolescu, general manager and shareholder, Phoenixy, in the show Invest in Romania !, made by ZF in partnership with CEC Bank.
“We have been approved an investment project of over 10 million euros, which we want to implement in 2021 and 2022. Of course, it is always about new technologies, but thanks to this project in particular we have dared to be more courageous. this time and we went to technologies that we might not have been able to afford until now. We want to create special products with a higher added value in order to change the company’s growth dynamics a little bit “.
The development efforts of the company behind the Gusto brand are constantly focused on launching assortments, and the manufacturer wants to capitalize on the organic trend through these investments.
“These are more sophisticated products, we focus on chocolate puffs, with various fillings, things that we have done so far to a certain extent, but at a different level. With one of the investments we focus on expansion technologies that do not only involve corn, but may involve various other raw materials, we think of organic ingredients, a growing market that is very much in line with our brand policies. I always said that we are an engineering or marketing company that makes fluff. ”
The co-founder of Phoenixy believes that local producers have the advantage of dynamism in the race with large groups in the market. The new directions can bring value increases of at least 30% for the company by the end of 2022.
“I mean the value ones because those products are from a much more expensive range. We are moving towards products whose raw material costs would be at 7-8 per kg versus 30 cents per kg as we have now. Even if the value added percentage remains the same, if the raw material is 20 times more expensive, we are talking about other values on products as well ”.
According to the data consulted by ZF, the state aid involves the addition of another 115 jobs within the company, but the guest explained that those conditions refer to the next seven years. However, Phoenixy estimates that it will already grow from 438 employees to over 500 by the end of next year.
The company founded almost three decades ago by Eliodor Apostolescu and Cătălin Nour achieved a turnover of over 32 million euros in 2020, increasing by 9.4%, at a profit margin of 11%.
“With a lot of effort, a lot of work and a lot of changes in the plans we had, we managed to close the year well, with a 9.4% increase in turnover. (…) There was a decrease in market demand. I keep hearing on TV in all the interviews growth, I do not understand where they are as long as there are areas where activity has decreased to 10% or closed completely, people who have remained unemployed, I do not see a happy landscape in the market at the time act. Basically, the increases we have achieved have been due to a huge struggle to diversify and attract new contracts. If it weren’t for the crisis, we would probably have doubled sales, but the efforts resulted in an increase of only 9% “.
Gusto’s sales are divided between 60% for exports and 40% for the domestic market, in terms of volume, and Eliodor Apostelscu explained that this ratio is rather close to 70-30%. Băicoi’s products will constantly reach 36 markets in 2020, and this year they will reach about 40 countries.
“We have expanded and strengthened our position in the international markets in which we work, new contracts have come. A very pleasant surprise for us was the opening on the Japanese market, an extremely difficult, demanding market, which I am proud of. We have successfully started sales, we already have three assortments listed and the fourth one follows. We also had orders in Iraq, and now we receive requests even from Bangladesh. “
Gusto products have been successfully sold for many years in Germany and other Western European countries, and from the factory in Băicoi Phoenixy explained that it serves customers at an advantageous cost within a radius of 800-1000 kilometers. As a result of this reality, the company announced last year in the show Invest in Romania !, that it wants to invest 7-10 million euros in a factory that will be located in Germany.
Today, the company is getting closer to the project of the first international factory, but it has looked cautiously in the context in which the new year began with fluctuations in demand.
“We are getting closer and closer to this moment. The plans look good, we do not find it difficult to implement and open the production capacity there, we had to stabilize a number of contracts in the market and certain volumes to justify the investment. If we consider that we send about 7,000 trucks a year to Germany-Austria, we can say that it becomes efficient to open production there. (…) The year started with a lack of consistency in sales, you wake up for three days with huge orders, and then you think for three days if you still have work to do ”.
However, the general manager of Phoenixy is of the opinion that you can’t wait, and as for the first international factory, it could be in another country or even on another continent, before it opens in Germany.
“Probably in 2022 (ed: in Germany), but maybe until then we can open elsewhere. We have new contracts negotiated in other markets that seem to lead to doubling the current capacity without being just a dream, it materializes after a good start we had and it is not known if there will be another market. I’m talking about other continents, but I wouldn’t want to say it before the contracts are finalized. (…) We have also started to sign contracts on France that can gather on the German market, a production capacity in western Germany can serve very well countries like the Netherlands, Belgium, so I don’t think we will have anything to open as much as possible. quick”.
Last year, the company maintained its usual investment rate of 3-4 million euros per year, and these were mainly aimed at expanding production capacity, new assortments and opening new markets.
Eliodor Apostolescu controls 50% of Phoenixy, while the other half of the shares are in Cătălin Nour, the two developing this company in an international name in the last 29 years.
The company does not currently consider listing on the stock exchange or transferring control to a potential buyer.
“We regularly receive offers to take over the company, at the moment we feel able to continue, if we ever feel that the complexity of the problems we face exceeds us, why not this would be an option, listing on the stock exchange, or selling the shares we have we are in the company, but at the moment, no matter how difficult the challenges we faced, we managed to face and find solutions. At the moment, I would like to keep the way we operate “, replied the general manager of the company, when asked if he is considering a possible listing on the stock exchange.
Asked what he would like to do beyond the production of the food industry, Eliodor Apostolescu pointed to sports management as a beautiful activity, in which he believes.
“My little girl does sports with good results and I found that no matter how talented you are or how good your competitive results are, an athlete can get big or lose depending on sports management. And with a little help that I was able to give regarding some managerial decisions related to my sports career, her results exploded “.