Ioannis Masoutis: Crisis offers opportunities

01 Δεκεμβρίου 2014 | Investing in Greece
States the Chairman of the Board of DIAMANTIS MASOUTIS S.A.




By investing in progress and innovation, Diamantis Masoutis S.A is getting prepared in order to play a major role when the country will be financially stable again.

Could you briefly display the main aggregates of Diamantis Masoutis S.A. (turnover, profitability, number of outlets, number of employees, share capital etc);
The sales of Diamantis Masoutis S.A. from €734 million in 2012 rose to €738.9 million in 2013 representing an increase of 0.63%. Within the generalized context of fall in the market turnover last year, we maintained sales at the same level compared with the previous year in comparable stores while we have launched four new outlets.



The same occurred with the company's profitability. In a year that the fierce competition slashed, more or less, profits in large and small-sized companies of the industry, the operating profitability (EBITDA) of Diamantis Masoutis S.A. remained steady at €40 million in both years. As far as the manifested growth of its distributable profits is concerned, they grew from €15,3 million in 2012 to €17,5 million in 2013.

With 252 stores in total (231 retail stores, 19 wholesale Cash & Carry, 2 green stores) Diamantis Masoutis S.A. geographically covers all prefectures of Macedonia, Thrace, Thessaly, Epirus, Evia and the islands of Limnos and Lesvos. It currently employs more than 6,100 workers.

Which are the investments implemented the last years by Diamantis Masoutis S.A. in terms of network development and infrastructure?
In 2013 we launched 4 new stores in areas we have been already operating and in 2014 we extended our operations in Evia, in a new region where we had no presence so far, with four new outlets. We also launched a new store in Votsi, Thessaloniki and in a few days we are launching another store in Liti, Thessaloniki. By the end of the year, the creation of at least four additional new stores will have been completed.

Furthermore, in the framework of the annual renovation programs of older stores, we will have renovated twenty of our units within this year. Concerning the network development, we have budgeted approximately €15 million.

We invest in technology and infrastructure. The Logistics center of Diamantis Masoutis S.A. is one of the largest and state-of-the-art centers in Greece and the wider Balkan region, being an investment that continually generates positive outcomes. It ensures the absolute service of all our stores and franchise network stores as well as the specific cooperation of the company.

We acquired the most integrated Data Center, which promises an uninterrupted and safe operation of all important IT applications 24 hours a day-365 days a year, with back-up infrastructure at all levels, in compliance with the most rigid international standards in the fields of business continuity and disaster recovery.

Also, by installing the SAP electronic data processing system and implementing the relevant application from the beginning of the year we upgraded our central IT infrastructure, so as to precede changes expected in the trade and consumption model as a consequence of the rapid growth of digital economy and social media, thus strengthening the company’s customer-centered character.

Moreover, by developing information systems with emphasis on portability, we created Masinfo, an Internet-based project of providing all information through tablets and smart phones. It is an innovative information and data analysis platform, which has been operating since last year, giving us the lead over the industry in terms of equipping executives with i-pad, so that they will be offered with access to the real information and the possibility of its shaping, since they can enter new data to the central system from stores and warehouses at any time.

Additionally, we invested in another innovative application exclusively intended for our franchise network, the WebOrders system, which was put into operation at the beginning of 2013, rendering ordering, supplying and inventory management an electronic affair, achieving great time saving, accuracy and immediate briefing of all our partners on market prices, discounts by item, availability and total cost of each order.

In the meantime, we completed the new facilities of our headquarters, of total area 4.450m2 utilizing the old warehouses of the company, where all our central services are housed in a streamlined working environment, combined with functionality, immediacy in communication among departments and time, resource and space saving.

What does your plan involve for 2014 regarding the expansion of your stores network? Are you looking through the potential of accomplishing any acquisitions?
There is no specific development plan providing for any acquisitions; instead we are getting prepared to respond to any interesting opportunity emerged. Diamantis Masoutis S.A. currently manifests adequacy in infrastructure and know-how so as to fully meet the needs of prospective network expansion. Ideally, the acquisition opportunities should relate to sound and dynamic local small and medium-sized companies, the action of which either fills geographical gaps in the areas where our company operates or it expands our scope of activity in new areas.

What is your comment on the course of the Greek economy? Is there still a long way towards recovery? What else is needed to be done?
Strong willpower is required towards the recovery of the economy. We're still in the midst of crisis, notwithstanding the fact that the retail industry has not been particularly affected. Of course, the economic crisis provides enough opportunities to exploit properly. This is exactly what we seek, investing in the increase of our share, so that when the country finally enters a phase of balancing, we will be the leaders in our industry. If other Greek companies are inspired by the same spirit of confidence, then the situation in our country will change more quickly towards the best.