The FINANCIAL -- Sustainable development, permanent expansion, implementation as well as introduction of new skills and novelties are what drive Georgian meat producing company Nikora in its leading position on the market.
More than 500 sorts of products, 206 supermarkets in Georgia, 4,000 employees, 10 different trademarks, a GEL 200 million contribution to the state budget, and 17 years of being in the leading position on the local market - is how Nikora is cementing its reputation as a prestigious brand in Georgia.
Thanks to the utmost success the company achieved in 2015, Nikora received the most influential business award in Georgia - Golden Brand.
For 2015, expected realisation growth slumped from the previously-targeted 30 percent, to 15 percent for meat products and 36 percent in the Holding, due to the devaluation of the Georgian national currency, the Lari.
Meanwhile, the company will continue its development, as the modern understanding of the brand never allows for falling behind the times.
“Unfortunately the Lari’s devaluation affected the Georgian economy and lowered the solvency rate of Georgian consumers. However, we still managed to have growth in sales and are setting the goal to achieve 20 percent realisation growth in 2016,” Irakli Bokolishvili, Director General at JSC Nikora, told The FINANCIAL.
In 2015 the consolidated sales of Nikora Holding member companies amounted to GEL 260 million.
Nikora has freshened up its product list, introduced new products and improved its economy-range brand Korrida.
“We are oriented on development and growth. This trend will continue this year as well,” Bokolishvili said.
Q. What was the biggest challenge in 2015?
A. Keeping sales growth in light of the Lari devaluation was one of the most significant challenges. However, we still made important steps forward. For example, Nikora Trade, daughter company of Nikora, became 100 percent shareholding owner of the supermarket chain Nugeshi. This was one of the largest deals of 2015.
Fortunately, the year 2016 started positively - the Lari started regaining its value. I hope this process will continue further and the solvency rate of our consumers will improve. This would have a positive impact on the Georgian economy in general.
Q. Are the meat production standards in Georgia close to European standards?
A. Based on Nikora’s example I would say yes, meat production standards are really meeting European standards in Georgia.
For many years we have been following ISO standards and we strictly monitor this process. All the daily cleaning-disinfection methods are following ISO instructions.
The personnel are also trained periodically to learn more how to use the disinfection methods. Before the production process starts each employee is required to undergo disinfection and start working immediately without touching anything.
The health conditions of the staff are also strictly controlled. There is a doctor in the company who checks the health conditions of each employee. After discovering any suspicious symptoms, the employee is not allowed to continue with his/her job until the treatment process is over.
In addition to these strict rules we have modern equipment which enables us to minimise the involvement of human beings in the production process.
Q. What are the conditions on the Georgian market - how are the meat products being produced here and where are the raw materials imported from?
A. Due to the fact that there are no large-scale farms in Georgia, local producers have to import the raw materials from abroad. Unfortunately, in Georgia there still does not exist farming which can sufficiently provide raw materials on such a scale as Nikora requires. While choosing the raw materials we pay attention to whether the farm is certified or not; whether it has a quality management system or not; whether or not it has been proved in a laboratory that the quality and the safety of the product is reliable.
In addition, the Georgian Veterinary Service also monitors whether or not it is allowed to import the raw materials from the specific region.
Nikora mainly imports its raw materials from Brazil, European countries, Canada, the United States (US) and Ukraine. The factories with which Nikora cooperates have many years of experience and it is allowed to import their production to the US and European markets.
As all the stages of production are strictly monitored we are confident in the final product. However, in order to meet consumers’ interests we periodically check the finished product as well before selling or distributing to the end-user.
The high standards of manufacturing and high level of professionalism of the staff are very important, plus the modern technologies.
Q. You mentioned several times the importance of the professional staff. How does Nikora take care of its employees?
A. Taking care of its employees is something that Nikora pays great attention to. Nikora provides trainings for them to improve their skills and knowledge.
We also pay attention to the promotion of our internal staff. On the one hand, the chance to be promoted is a big motivation for staff, to show their professionalism. At the same time we give bonuses to them to raise their motivation.
Time by time we arrange different sports events, corporate events, excursions and general meetings for the staff to be united as a team and jointly take care of the company’s success.
Q. Which meat products are in most demand on the market and why?
A. Sausage and wiener are the most in-demand not only in Georgia but worldwide. Their delicious taste as well as the ease of cooking these products is what makes them very popular. Because it is easy to cook sausage and wiener, they are often offered to guests when people have their friends come visit.
Q. How actively is the company involved in PR and Marketing campaigns?
A. PR and Marketing campaigns are very important for the company regardless of its popularity. We try to keep up with modern life and are very active on social networks. We have different activities and discount offers for customers.
A constant quest for innovation and development is also very important. The company is never completely satisfied with the results it achieves.
Q. You won Golden Brand. In your opinion why did the experts make the decision to name Nikora a Golden Brand-worthy company?
A. Nikora owns many awards, including Golden Brand. We have become the favourite brand for the seventh time already. I think the reason why the experts constantly name us a Golden Brand company is that Nikora is one of the largest-scale companies in Georgia with huge experience.
Besides, Nikora is distinguished by having the most diverse assortment and high quality products, plus the company is very reliable.
A wide range of high quality products, modern infrastructure, qualified staff, dialogue with consumers and constantly striving for progress are the main factors that have contributed to Nikora’s positions of leadership on the market for the last 17 years.
During the past 17 years Nikora proved it is worthy of being a favourite brand of consumers and a Golden Brand company.