Subscribe to our newsletter

Quality Brings New Markets

As one of the leaders in the production of detergents and household chemicals, Beohemija is a company that exports its products to more than 15 countries of the region and the EU, while it is preparing, together with CE Industries, to enter the markets of Africa

In this interview for Connecting the Region, Roman Kratochvil discusses the business results of the company he leads and shares a portion of the ambitious plans for the upcoming period.

How are the results of the operations of this Zrenjanin-based giant under your leadership? What has changed over these two years?

― It is important to note that we bought a good company, which we acquired from Preston, and thus Beohemija has practically been operating within the framework of Czech holding company CE Industries since September 2021.

CE Industries is a modern industrial holding company with high added value in the fields of energy, heavy engineering, rail transport and raw material recycling. It has more than 2,500 employees in Czechia, Slovakia, Croatia and Serbia, and a turnover that we believe will exceed 350 million euros this year.

Has the company’s two decades of commitment to quality and continuous investment fortified Beohemija’s leadership position in the country and around the region?

― Our strategy is to develop our relationships with customers and all stakeholders, through long-term development and the ascribing of the proper value of our branches, thereby contributing to the company’s further economic development. Despite expectations that 2022 would show the first positive effects of recovery from the economic crisis brought about by the pandemic, inherited problems were only added to with the new challenges brought by the war in Ukraine: supply chain disruptions, increases in the prices of raw materials, energy and transport, rising inflation and interest rate hikes.

The Open Balkan initiative is very important for us, because it is thanks to it that we are able to approach consumers on all markets encompassed by the initiative

Regardless of everything, investments were made in the plant and in the procuring of new equipment, while holding company CE Industries took over a company in Czechia that has a very similar product range, and so today that company, which is called Beohemija Czechia, operates under the auspices of Beohemija Serbia. All of the aforementioned form part of our long-term strategy, which encompasses investing in the portfolio and expanding to new foreign markets.

How would you evaluate the potential for development towards new foreign markets? Are you assisted in this by the companies that operate within the scope of CE Industries or by the Open Balkan initiative?

― The Open Balkan initiative is very important for us, because it is thanks to it that we are able to approach consumers on all markets encompassed by the initiative. We respect the needs of all our consumers; we listen to what they want, what they expect, what products to offer, what fragrance notes to include. We cooperate with the world’s largest producers of raw materials, fragrances, technologies; with the top experts in our industry, who are committed to developing and improving products. This is our formula for success, with which we’ve retained the trust of existing consumers and gained the trust of new ones.

Our Duel brand has had its own loyal customers for decades, who know that, by buying Duel, they will get the quality and scent to which they are accustomed, but also that they can rely on the entire range of products under this name

The Beohemija development strategy is to strive towards new European markets, and we were proud to add Romania to the map of our export markets in October. The Romanian market is extremely demanding, but we managed to enter the Kaufland chain, which has 270 retail outlets. We are simultaneously preparing, together with CE Industries, to appear on the very popular African markets, where a great need for our products exists.

You invest a lot in developing the company, and primarily in developing your brands. What do you use to fight the increasing competition?

― Our Duel brand has had its own loyal customers for decades, who know that, by buying Duel, they will get the quality and scent to which they are accustomed, but also that they can rely on the entire range of products included under this brand name. Despite all the turmoil both within the company and on the market, Duel has kept its position thanks to its quality. All countries in transition, Serbia included, have gone through a phase of turning to products from abroad, due to a need to try something international, something global, but they ultimately returned to what’s familiar to them, which symbolically represents safety.

We have an entire portfolio of household brands, from Duel, which is unsurpassed in the category of detergents and fabric softeners, via dishwashing detergent Spin, to Pompa etc. Thanks to our acquisition of a company from Czechia, we are in a position to offer the market Spin dishwasher detergent tablets. At the same time, we are restoring the glory of the Pompa brand, while we will also pay special attention to Duel and won’t overlook the Selection brand either. Everyone knows about the yellow Duel, while for next year we are preparing something special in the softener category: a limited-edition product that will be available in all supermarkets in Serbia and around the region as of next spring. That will be a new product, but with old and unquestionable quality.

Must Read

Miroslav Lajčak Appointed New EU Ambassador to Switzerland

Miroslav Lajčak, the Slovak diplomat and Special Representative for the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue, has been appointed as the new EU Ambassador to Switzerland following the...

Milica Uraz, CEO, Steel Impex

Transform Waste into a Valuable Resource