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Melanija Pavlović, General Manager, JAF d.o.o. Nova Pazova

Wood Is Our World

The JAF Group is this year celebrating 75 years of doing business, with an annual turnover exceeding a billion euros, a presence in over 17 countries in Europe and around the world, and 56 branches

JAF strives to be a stable partner and to be located close to its collaborators, which is why the opening of a branch office in Niš is a logical step, considering all the companies that cooperate with JAF in the region of Southern Serbia and beyond.

As a local company with 100% Austrian capital, you have spent the last 15 years operating in accordance with the principles of the famous JAF Group. Are you striving to apply the best European and world standards in your work and contribution to the community?

— This year is a jubilee year for the JAF Group, and also for JAF in Serbia. The company was established 75 years ago as a family business focused on the wood trade in the small town of Stockerau near Vienna.

JAF successfully maintains a leading position throughout Central and Eastern Europe in the trade in structural panel materials and wood products, as a secure partner and supplier to manufacturers of furniture, doors, floor and wall coverings, construction companies, carpenters, investors, architects, interior design firms and construction works contractors. “Wood is our world” is the slogan that JAF employees have been nurturing for many years.

Your company has spent the past four years operating in Risk Management mode, due to both the pandemic and the war in Ukraine. Are you handling the crisis well because you also recognised it as a growth opportunity?

— I agree with you, though I would note that the entire world is operating in some kind of Risk Management mode. The world has definitely changed since 2020, and business is also changing. We are confronted by changes on a daily basis, but unfortunately also by crises that are caused by wars. The Ukraine situation has disrupted supply chains and had a major impact on the wood industry and furniture manufacturers through shortages of certain products and price turbulence. We had exceptional business growth in both 2021 and 2022, at the level of the Group and in Serbia, but the situation in 2023 is bringing new challenges our way, as well as a partial decline in business.

JAF successfully maintains a leading position throughout Central and Eastern Europe in the trade in structural panel materials and wood products

As a major corporation, we endeavour to adapt to all changes and to monitor developments. When there is a crisis, it is necessary to invest in marketing. The JAF Group has decided, despite the crisis, to open several new branches to coincide with the 75th anniversary of its establishment, and one of them is our new branch in Serbia, in Niš. We strive to be a stable partner and to be located close to our collaborators, so the opening of a branch office in Niš is a logical step, given all our precious partners in the region of Southern Serbia and beyond. Growth opportunities always exist and that’s something we count on.

Does the example you set inspire other Austrian companies to come to Serbia?

— As representatives of Austrian capital in Serbia, we have outstanding cooperation with the Embassy of Austria and the trade department of the Embassy of Austria, Advantage Austria, through joint projects, which also includes the dual education project. Austria has been among the top investors in Serbia for many years. Our two countries are linked by an exceptional friendship and cooperation. I hope that other Austrian companies will also recognise the benefit of investing and doing business in Serbia, and we are already showing this with our example, while we also plan to expand our operations to several more cities in Serbia over the next few years.

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