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Sebastian Sosa, IMF Resident Representative in Serbia

Sound Fiscal Policy Remains A Priority

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H.E. Philippe Guex, Ambassador of Switzerland to Serbia

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Majo Mićović, President Of The Swiss-serbian Chamber Of Commerce

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Ana Grujović, Execuive Director of SSCC

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Branko Roglić, President of Orbico Group

Biggest Distributor in Europe

Orbico Group provides comprehensive, high-quality services – from business sales and distribution solutions, logistics and marketing to managing the world’s biggest brands. The Group covers 19 countries in their business segment – from Germany and Ukraine to the Czech Republic and Albania. Today, Orbico Group cooperates with over 50 suppliers, manages more than 200 global and local brands and supplies over 40,000 clients.

Orbico Group’s clients are some of the most important market stakeholders, including large international and local retailers, wholesalers, drugstores, pharmacies, local shop owners, B2B entrepreneurs and specialized sales channels.

Your company has quite an impressive client portfolio, which includes the likes of Procter & Gamble, Philip Morris, Kellogg’s and other global brands. How do you manage to satisfy the high criteria of your renowned partners on the very complex regional market?

– At the beginning of my career, I managed a branch office of the German company VARTA and acquired the necessary know-how there and then. I learned even more after I started distributing Procter & Gamble (P&G) products in 1991. It is a well-known fact that P&G is very demanding of its distributors, and if you manage to please them, other clients come by default. We have a highly professional approach to all of them while trying to be the smallest share in their expenses.

On what do you base your strategy of sustainable development, considering that you said that this strategy should make you the number one distributor of the biggest brands in Europe?

– The strategy is not unique. What differentiates us is our focus and dedication to covering every nook and cranny on the market and all sales channels, as well as permeate the market as much as possible at optimum cost. When ORBICO entered the Polish market by taking over the distribution of P&G and Heineken products, we became the biggest distributor in Europe.

To what extent do the economic crisis and political instability in the region affect Orbico’s operations?

– The economic crisis does affect us because it diminishes purchasing power. We have learned to handle that, and we haven’t had much difficulty since. We just became more cautious.

How can West Balkan countries become more efficiently linked in business?

– The place for economic networking in the market is very much the Conditio Sine Qua Non-situation – it is essential. Despite our not too recent past, we have to establish and develop regional cooperation. Otherwise, we are all going to starve.

Keeping my word and working with quality people are the foundations on which Orbico started and we are still travelling this road

How much do administrative customs rules impede efficiency and the profit-generating abilities of companies that are present in Balkan countries and beyond?

– We are overly administrated and this slows down efficiency and profitability of projects and complicates investments. Of course, that administration needs to be cut down.

Did you have to change certain standards and procedures in your business following the EU accession of certain countries?

– We did not change our operational standards after accession to the EU (first to be affected were our companies in Bulgaria, Romania and Slovenia) but we reduced our costs due to a tougher competition that we encountered. We reduced our overheads across the board through synergies and new IT systems ensuring our success in 10 EU countries to date.

Orbico Group cooperates with the biggest retail chains and independent local shops. How much do you have to deal with unsettled claims?

– Problems with payment can be found in many countries. We have learned how to deal with this and there is no chance that anyone could deceive us. That occasionally happened back in the 1990s, but today we know ins and outs of our clients, and we carefully monitor their work. Every client is allowed to take as many goods as it is capable of paying for within the set payment terms. Also, we assign credit ratings to each and every one of them.

Could you tell us, in brief, something about the market conditions in the region compared to those in the countries that are already EU members?

– Businesses in the region are quickly adapting to the way things are done in the EU. However, there are certain differences as a result of a different approach to doing business. People apply the experiences they gain from travelling to their own practices. As I said earlier, the biggest difference is that the competition has grown a lot stronger.

This fact alone will force regional companies to look for solutions that will improve their efficiency, and I am referring mainly to cutting back on costs. Of course, e-commerce is gaining in popularity. Furthermore, the software is rapidly developing which expedites business processes.

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