The First Secretary of the Italian Embassy in Serbia, Marco Leone says that the Italian company Ferrero’s investment in hazel bush farms is very similar to Fiat’s investment in automotive industry since both companies are going to cooperate with suppliers in Serbia, apart from, of course, making direct investments.
Mr. Leone also explains the similarity between the business models of Fiat and Ferrero. “The similarities between these two investors do exist because not only did Fiat make a big investment, but it has also been cooperating with many suppliers. The same goes for Ferrero. The company will grow hazel bush in Serbia but will also buy hazelnuts from local farmers, in addition to helping them to improve their existing farms”, Leone said in a statement for Tanjug.
He adds that Fiat was the single biggest Italian investment in Serbia which has created the biggest number of jobs and that the company is currently the biggest Serbian exporter.
According to him, the Italian company Ferrero is very willing to help Serbian farmers to produce hazelnut themselves that the company would buy from them at a later date. “For instance, the company will provide them with the hazel bush seedlings, and advise them how to grow hazel bush in the proper way”, Leone explains. He also underlines that the relations between the two countries are growing stronger and that, in the last two years Italy has become the number one foreign trade partner to Serbia with many Italian companies coming here to invest.
Leone goes on to say that the two main reasons why Italians have been investing in Serbia is the fact that the country has a good strategic location and quality workforce that is quite educated. This is the reason why the cooperation between the two countries could easily become even better, Leone explains and adds that, apart from the agri sector and food industry, sectors that are suitable for cooperation are also water treatment and waste management. “For instance, the Italian company Gruppo Zilio is investing in Zrenjanin, in waste water treatment”, Leone adds.
He also sazs that there have been several big Italian investments in the texile and footware industry by companies like Benetton, Calzedonia, Golden Lady, Pompea and Geox.
“Progetti, the Italian family-run company, also does in business in Serbia. They produce shoes for the famous Italian fashion companies like Prada and Gucci”, Leone adds.
He also reminds that Italy has been investing a lot in the financial sector with almost half of the insurance market being in the hands of the two Italian insurance companies – Generali and DDOR. The first and the third most successful banks in Serbia – Banca Intesa and UniCredit – are also Italian investments.
Speaking about the business climate in Serbia, Leone says that there are many things that should be improved, adding that the Serbian government has demonstrated its commitment to fixing the business environment. “A lot still needs to be done, but, at the same time, at lot has already been done on improving the business climate. During the recent visits by important international officials, your government received a lot of praises”, Leone concludes.
He also reminds about an important development for both countries which is the recent opening of an official office of the Italian region of Friuli Venezia Giulia in Belgrade.
This post is also available in: Italiano