An Interview With Hristivoje Milošević, the owner of „Flori trading group"
With New Plant Against the Crisis
Author: M. Škrbić | Photographs by: Z. Raš | 09.11.2009. - 05:00
In Serbia, Aleva has long been established as a company associated with the red pepper spice. However, although red pepper is its most prominent, it is far from being the company’s only product. The company, based in Novi Kneževac, has an assortment of over 130 products. Since 2005, Aleva has been doing business as a part of Flori trading group, which, according to the group’s owner, Mr Hristivoje Milošević, it does not seize to grow.
Mr Milošević says the crisis has brought numerous problems upon the company, but they failed to frighten its managers.
New investments are the only way to fight a crisis. That’s why we have started the construction of a new Aleva plant this winter. We plan to invest between five and seven million euros into the project.
What steps would you expect the Serbian government to take in order to beat the crisis as soon as possible?
The basic issue is to maintain the current level of salaries and purchasing power of consumers for it is a way to preserve the existing production level. It would be bad to additionally burden the industry with raising the VAT or income taxes. Instead, it would be wiser to negotiate a lower price of capital with banks so that Serbian companies could maintain competitive prices and fight companies, which have access to the much cheaper capital.
To what extent did the crisis affect your business?
The basic problem is the lack of liquidity. The deadline for repaying invoices on our market is 90 days. However, due to the problems that firms have been facing, these deadlines are often extended to a period between 160 and 180 days. This creates problems for everyone, especially the companies that do cooperative business with primary producers.
Many businessmen have complained about the unstable euro exchange rate since the start of the year.
The strengthening of the euro has certainly hampered importing businesses. However, it has significantly stimulated export activities. In our activities, we have put an emphasis onto entering new markets. Aleva has been exporting its products to all former Yugoslav republics, as well as Libya, Alger, Iraq, Turkey and Iran. Since November 1, 2009 we have been distributing our goods throughout the entire former Soviet Union territory.
The Company ID Card
„Flori trading group" is doing business on the Russian and other markets. It is present in Serbia through the Flori children food production company, based in the town of Kruševac, and through the Aleva company, based in the town of Novi Kneževac. The group has invested 1.5 million euros into modernisation of the Aleva, notably in redesigning of its complete assortment of 130 products. Aleva is currently employing three hundred people while having entered into a cooperative with primary producers of red pepper thus securing a living for around five hundred families.
Source: Blic daily 09.11.2009.