Saïd Boujbel has recently inaugurated a new unit for manufacturing beer under the label of Heineken. The businessman who sees his new investment as a complement to his commitment of his group in tourism sector, considers this as an instrument for developing jobs in Tunisia, in a market economy and competition. In this interview, Saïd Boujbel also raises the group prospects and also confirms that his group is not yet thinking of the Stock Market Interview.
What meaning can we give to this change, since your group is rather known for investing in tourism?
We are still in tourism, which is my job. This investment has the advantage of giving us more choice in our offer. This enables us to provide an international product and this improves the image of Tunisia and of the Tunisian catering product and hence reinforces what is on the market. The market is, indeed too big for two actors, this will not be tough competition, I am sure we, too will have our market share.
Yes, indeed, you are speaking about competition, did this investment take into it account especially in terms of prices ?
We studied all the details so that we can have a market share.
You are expecting what size of market share ?
We will reach 15% at the end of the fifth year.
What turnover do you expect ?
Very modest. We will be able to balance the accounts and identify profits from the third year.
During the inauguration, your foreign partner raised wider prospects with a group which will be active in water, fizzy drinks, since your purchase of the SNBG. Could you possibly give us more details about these prospects ?
We did, indeed, buy this unit, to complete the range of products offered by our group and to access the market with a wider range of products. Experience showed that a mono-product actor, in Tunisia, will not have great development opportunities as the market is too small. We then took the opportunity of buying the SNBG, to complete our range and enter with an entire range. We have a team of professionals who are currently studying the market, and I am sure that, very shortly, we will succeed to position ourselves correctly in the market.
Concerning beer, it is a famous brand, and what about fizzy drinks, are you keeping the same brands ?
We have some new brands which are known at the international level.
Such as ?
The brand « Féirouz » for example, which will be a fizzy drink based on beer and « malt » and which will be introduced soon. This is also a Heineken brand.
And relating to water ?
Concerning water we will develop and promote the brand «Fourat », which has great notoriety on the local market.
Did you meet any difficulties introducing the beer market ?
We did not meet any difficulty as we were able to adapt to the country legislation. Besides, we got all the support and help of the Tunisian government and administration that I thank heartily.
There is a question that I think I must ask you. What do you think of this investment in beer, in an Arab-Moslem country?
Well, there are no half solutions. If we want to improve our tourism, if we want to be leaders and help develop our economy, which also needs this type of investment, we should not seek half solutions which are useless. As to me, I think there is room for this type of investment which gives more choice to Tunisian and foreign consumers. We should not deal with religious considerations, because people are free to do whatever they like. Today, we have many young people looking for jobs. How can offer them other job opportunities, if not by attracting international groups to invest in Tunisia?
After the announcement of the entry of Medis, is your group planning to prepare the Sonobra to access the Stock Market ?
Concerning Médis, we postponed our entry to the Stock Market for at least three years.
So, how can Heineken entrer the Stock Market like the SFBT of your competitor?
Heineken is a shareholder to 49 % in the Sonobra and besides the mother company is quoted at the Stock Market in Hollad. We, then do not plan to enter to the Tunis Stock Market.
Are you saying that it is not suitable for the Stock Market ?
For the time being, no. We should first a lot of profit and we will study any other opportunity in the adequate time.
Competition is already in the Stock Market, though ?
We are far away from competition. They are leaders in the market and we are still far away.