"Lidskoe Beer" CEO: "It seemed my nightmare, when I tried to convince Finnish investors to believe in the future of Belarus"

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In 2014, OAO "Lidskoe Beer" (owner - Finnish concern Olvi) invested 12.9 mln euro in the development of production and logistics, and in 2014-2015 the investment volume will amount to 25 mln euro. The CEO of "Lidskoe Beer” company Audrius Miksys said this at the press conference on Thursday.

"Most funds are allocated for building a new plant, said Miksys. There wasn`t enough beer in the summer: everyone was angry, everyone cursed, we can`t export... It seemed my nightmare, when I tried to convince Finnish investors to believe in the future of Belarus, and now we double our facilities. Our brewhouse will be huge."

According to the CEO, as early as in March equipment will start to be installed in the brewhouse, and by the end of summer new facilities will have been put into operation.

In 2014, OAO "Lidskoe Beer" produced 170 mln liters of beer and beverages. The company's share in the domestic beer market rose to 20.9% from 20.5% in 2013 year. The overall beer production increased by 3.8% - to 74.8 mln liters. The share increase is related with the production of beer in glass bottles. The company`s share in terms of the production of kvass fell from 60.4% to 56.8%. The overall production grew by 3.4% - to 37.7 mln liters.

"Not taking into account the last weeks of December, the year was great. Six years ago we wondered whether "Lidskoe Beer" would ever become the largest company in Olvi Group. We thought if we would, then in about ten years at the soonest. But it happened in five years," boasted Miksys.

The CEO noted that despite the economic problems in December and January, the situation with the payments of retail chains has recently improved. "Of course, the retail chains feel oats to impose their terms. But there`s no use in complaining. What`s the use of complaining that someone is more powerful than you?" he noted. As for non-payments, the chains weren`t the only ones to experience problems with that, he said. "I think it was a chain of events, especially when there were problems with the purchase of currency and with the understanding of what tomorrow will bring. In January, the National Bank put some clarity into the situation, and the rush was gone. There are no serious problems with particular chains. Even state retail chains, which have had big problems with payments for years, have paid off their debts this year. They have paid off all their debts!" noted Miksys.

Last year, "Lidskoe beer" increased its export of beer by 20.3%, the export of kvass - by 62.5%. The main import markets were Russia, Poland, Armenia, Germany, Ukraine, as well Lithuania and Kazakhstan in a smaller extent.

In 2015, Miksys predicts zero growth in the domestic beer market. But the fall isn`t expected either, as the country doesn`t plan to change its excise policy and to restrict advertising and sales.

The company sees no serious risks associated with the decrease in household purchasing power, as well as it doesn`t expect problems with export to the Russian market. "I`m optimistic about the Russian market. True, a lot of companies fail there, but ours is so small in terms of the market scale, that slight improvements of distribution would be enough for us to flourish there," the CEO believes.

"Lidskoe beer" plans to pay special attention to the other export vector - Poland, Germany, Slovenia, Slovakia.

Text and pictures by TUT.BY