The contribution of Athenian Brewery to the Greek economy and society, its investment plan and the long-term plans.
What is the imprint of Athenian Brewery left on the Greek economy? What is its contribution in terms of employment, return on revenues to the State and rural production?
Supporting the Greek economy and being faithful to the country and its people constitutes our primary commitment. Since the operation of our first plant in Athens in 1965 until today, we “serve” entrepreneurship, sustainable development and innovation in a responsible and efficient manner. We operate three units in Athens, Thessaloniki and Patras as well as a bottling plant of the natural water IOLI in Lamia. Overall, we employ three generations of workers, we are supplied with Greek raw materials, we expand our exports vigorously and we actively support the Greek society through maintaining and creating jobs across the whole spectrum of our business chain.
During the six-year period 2007-2013, we contributed €1.2 billion to the state budget in the form of taxes, fees and contributions. According to the independent socio-economic impact study conducted last year, for every 1 euro of added value in our company, 7 euro are added to the wider Greek economy. The total added value of our activities exceeds more than 1 billion euro, equivalent to 0.5% of GDP, half of which (507 million euro) represent tax payments to the state.
Our main priority is the people, whether they are our 1,000 employees, whom we develop through education and empowerment of their skills, our customers, suppliers or consumers. Based on the above study, the overall contribution of Athenian Brewery to employment is 28,000 jobs, a figure corresponding to 0.7% of the total workforce of the country. This means that every job in our company corresponds to 28 vacancies in the wider chain of our activities. We also collaborate with 4,350 Greeks suppliers, representing over 95% of all our suppliers and with 3,000 Greek farmers through the Local Barley Sourcing Program for the production of beer. It is worth noting that, since its launch in 2008, this program has created 830 new jobs exclusively in the rural sector.
The Local Barley Sourcing Program is one of the most successful initiatives and innovations of our company. The last six years we have purchased a total of 108,600 tons of Greek barley, the added value of which amounts to 22 million euro and which is malted in the two privately-owned malt houses of our company in Patras and Thessaloniki, the sole ones existing in Greece. This year we feel particularly proud because, having sown 68,000 tons, we will materialize our initial objective to cover 100% of our needs in Greek barley and once achieved, we aim at being expanded in exporting Greek malt to foreign markets.
What is the company’s investment volume during its 50-year operation in the Greek market? What does your plan foresee for the immediate future?
For over 50 years, Athenian Brewery has been investing in Greece. Hence, we are committed to continue with absolute faith in the recovery of the Greek economy and with our gaze towards the future. Indicatively, from 1997 to currently, our investments in the Greek market have exceeded €500 million, with the priority given to development and modernization of our production units, to adoption of new packaging materials and innovation.
As far as 2014 is concerned, we maintain our investment plan stable at 19 million euro, while for the next two years our investment plan provides for 38.4 million euro. In parallel, we place emphasis on innovation, export, education and transfer of know-how with respect to our employees and partners, thus contributing positively and in the long-term to the Greek society and economy.
Where exactly do you rank the development of exports of the products produced in Greece and the actions towards supporting the Greek society on the ladder of your strategy?
With more than 40 years of established presence in international markets, we are confident that investing in extroversion provides an outlet for our production activities and generates additional value for the Greek economy.
By focusing on our key brands, such as Amstel, Heineken, ALFA, Fischer, Buckler and the natural mineral water IOLI, the value of our exports in 2013 reached €15 million. Our products travel on the 5 continents, with Cyprus and Albania being the largest markets, whilst we export to other companies of Heineken Group worldwide. Our goal for 2014 is to dedicate 20% of our production activity to exports. In this context, we are constantly seeking new markets, particularly for ALFA beer, for brands intended exclusively for exports as well as for IOLI water.
A big venture of 2013 is that we were the 1st company of HEINEKEN Group in Europe that produces & exports Fayrouz, a non-alcohol beverage, which will be produced in our country but it will be exclusively distributed to 40 international markets. This new aspiring activity was supported by Athenian Brewery’s investment of one million euro.
Moreover, the support of society, of which we are an integral part and in which we have been operating more than 50 years, constitutes our primary commitment which is embedded in our philosophy for sustainable development. This commitment is reflected on the promotion of responsible consumption, on volunteerism of our employees in agencies with social contribution, on our constant collaboration with five NGOs, on the priority we place on caring for the environment and the support we give to young people, enterprises and cooperating farmers through programs of education, training and transfer of know-how. These are the pillars through which we materialize our vision for a sustainable future.
Do you share the view that Greece will record positive growth rates in the coming years? What do you think it needs to be done to strengthen entrepreneurship and improve the investment climate?
We have already observed some positive signs in the Greek economy and this is a very encouraging indication. We believe that we should continue to “build” on this direction and work consistently, inspired by vision so that we will collectively achieve the most optimal results. We need to foster a fruitful and competitive business environment along with a new development strategy. To achieve that, a simplified and more stable tax system, reduction in bureaucracy, more transparency, clear and fair rules should be established.
In Athenian Brewery, we are all here and we will continue to produce, to generate and offer value here in Greece. Our goal is to support the development of the Greek economy and society and deliver long-term benefits to our consumers, our 1,000 employees as well as our partners.