The Bulgarian ‘Biomachine’ which is a key supplier for the giants Nеѕtlе and Моndеlеz
‘Business Point’ is the most recent contents series introduced by Моnеу.bg which is aimed at putting the spotlight on the successful performance model of companies which have proven to have a major contribution to the Bulgarian economics. This time, we have made our choice for the Bulgarian family company ‘Biomachinostroene’ (Bio Mechanical Engineering).
Speaking of a company which started up with some 17 employees manufacturing products for none but the domestic market, then, three decades later, to grow by leaps and bounds into a global leader in that sector exporting to far distant markets, such as the USA, Japan, and New Zeland, having their clients in the range of Dаnоnе and Nеѕtlе, makes more than a perfect story. And it has proven to be even so for one of the largest-scale manufacturers in Plovdiv, namely Biomachinostroene (Biomachine).
Established back in 1986 as a public company, the company set out as a manufacturer of biotech products. Some 30 years or so later, the company got private finding its hand in furnishing the right equipment for the FB industry, pharmacy, and chemical industry where 90% of its output is scheduled overseas.
Gergana Philipova, having an 18-year experience in the company, tells Money.bg about the way she worked her way up to the leadership position in that sector, sharing her insight about the future development of the business run by Biomachine. Speaking of her, she is a Business Development Officer and a BoD member.
‘The company draws upon a 30-year history, it used to be a public ownership. It had started up with some 17 employees penetrating for the most part the Bulgarian market. It had been meant to provide biotech equipment,’ she explained.
About ‘Biomachinostroene’ (Bio Mechanical Engineering).
1986 – ‘Biomachinostroene’ was founded as a public company, today it is a private business;
17 employees – the number of employees engaged in the company to date;
250 employees – this makes the number of employees in the company today;
BGN 23,5 mill – this is the figure of her income generated for the previous year;
90% – this makes the part of its output scheduled for abroad;
Over 20 – these are the markets the company exports to.
Since 1989, the company has been private, and upon the EU integration of Bulgaria the company made a practical use of this to expand its business.
‘Following the EU integration of Bulgaria, we discerned a nice opening to the single European market. We set our aim on high, and went for it. At the very beginning, the orders placed were small, however, we welcomed them quite as a challenge. Our major competitive advantage proved to be the low-cost labor in Bulgaria’, admitted Gergana Philipova.
Further down the way, Biomachine found itself exporting increasingly more products, and that not only to the EU markets, rather, further down to the Near East, North America, and the East of Asia. Presently, there are 250 employees on the company scheme in Plovdiv, where 90% of its produce is scheduled for abroad.
150 mill euro investments for 2018: Which are the new factories established in Trakia Economic Zone?
Eng. Plamen Panchev tells Моnеу.bg what is to be expected this year.
‘Biomachinostroene’ turned from a public, honestly, a socialist company, dedicated entirely to the domestic market, into a private, medium-size company, which proved to be a global leader in that industry. We are the best-equipped European-based company in that industry. I would dare say so drawing upon the testimonials of our clients,’ admits Philipova.
‘Our major markets have happened to be the Near East, Central Asia, the European Union, however, we have a wholearray of projects which got implemented across the world, such as for instance, New Zealand, Japan, North America, etc. Our business is project-driven with each project cutting a unique figure. On current form, we have 250 employees, 30 of which engineers engaged in our structural team and RD,’ she added.
What does the business of ‘Biomachine’ precisely do?
It is hard to get real about the exact output of Biomachine, unless one sees it first-hand. In theory, we could say the company produces vessels, heat exchangers, and further equipment for various Bulgarian and foreign companies in the FB, pharmacy, cosmetics, and the chemical industry.
Put on the practical perspective, there is raw material making its way into the company base in Plovdiv which is to be processed into finished goods, and later scheduled for shipment abroad. Speaking of which, this is for the most part equipment cutting quite an impressive figure in its size. Also, to sound on the realistic side, Gergana Philipova points out the following as a forcible example:
‘Heat exchangers are one of the products where we have definitely proven foremost for the recent years. Biomachine produces ca. 70 units per year, some of which truly large-scale projects. To give an example, the evaporator heat exchanger which has been ordered by an Austrian client is to be used for starch production. A single piece of the plant has its length of 30m, its diameter 5m, 3000 ducts, its weight striking 140 tons. We are the supplier of such plants to almost all of the big European-based companies.’
The heat exchangers getting ready to be shipped to Austria
She called the attention to the point that for the recent years Biomachine has been engaged on large-scale comprehensive projects. As a telling example, one of them has been implemented for Saudi Arabia.
‘We have stood out recently finding ourselves assigned the implementation of global comprehensive projects. As one example, we have worked in Saudi Arabia for the best-developing FB company, Аlmаrаі. We have procured the equipment to meet the demand of a number of their projects, with a single one of them having 80 various devices’, explained Philipova.
A commensurate project takes some 3 to 6 months before the procurement is made, whereas the largest-scale one thus far implemented by the Bulgarian company strikes the figure of 4 million BGN.
The challenge is placed not only by the design and manufacture of the products, however their carriage could be quite of a challenge given their unconventional size. The greatest trouble proves to get them conveyed from Plovdiv to the ports on the Danube.
‘Biomachine’ as the key supplier for Nеѕtlе, Dаnоnе and Моndеlеz
In 2007, the Plovdiv-based company exported for the most part to East European markets, including Ukraine, Russia, Moldova, Macedonia and Romania. At that time, the company had the major part of its clients in the wine-making industry.
‘We got to know that the products for that industry were not as complex as the facilities, still the competition was intense what precluded our chances to advance’, admitted Gergana Philipova who went on:
‘We identify our competitive advantage in the production of complex products of high added value, such as prove to be comprehensive and meet the best of quality standards. This is the reason we made our pick for process equipment.’
As such, Biomachine has currently come out as the supplier for the most reputable engineering companies as well as for the FB manufacturers in the world. Listed among its major clients are Теtrа Расk, Gеа Group, Nestle and Danone. To many of them, the Bulgarian company has become the key supplier.
Part of the company output is placed on the Bulgarian market. ‘The Bulgarian market, however, does not fit the full capacity of our size. We can number among our major Bulgarian clients the multi-national companies such as Mondelez, Nestle, Carlsberg, Coca-Cola and Bulgarian manufacturers such as Madzharov and more along the lines,’ shares Philipova.
A double income and 100 new jobs by 2023
The plot area base where BIomachine is located in Plovdiv takes some 85 000 m2, with a footprint of 10 000 m2, however, it is scheduled to be doubled in the next couple of years. By implication, the company is to start 60 to 100 more jobs.
This makes a part of the plans mapped out by the company as touching its manufacturing expansion policy at the cost of 10 million EUR, as announced last year. The expansion policy enjoys the support of the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).
‘Biomachinostroene’ expands its business and hires new employees backed up by a EUR 4,5 mill loan facility extended by the RBRD
The company exports upward of 90% of its produce to companies such as Nеѕtlé, Fеrrеrо, Теtrа Раk, etc.
‘The program features a large-scale project for us which is to double our output in both area and capacity. We have been re-investing 100% of our profit, and the sales revenue for the recent year comes at 23,5 million leva. We believe, by 2023 we will come out with twice as much,’ were Gergana Philipova’s estimations.
On present form, the first of all three new manufacturing buildings has been completed, plus a new finished goods stock site. This marks the close of stage 1 of the project, having implemented one third of the investment.
‘The project will make us better able of organizing our production flow. We will cope with still bigger and heavier facilities. Having the base expanded, we are planning to open more jobs. As our estimations go, we are going to hire 60 to 100 new employees,’ shared Philipova, and went on:
‘Speaking of whom, these will be highly skilled employees, essentially machine operators, plus, highly skilled experts,engineers and structural engineers. We are going to engage them within the course of 3 to 5 years by the finalization of the complete project.’