An interview with the founder of “Nabeglavi” Avtandil Svimonishvili
you will commission a new enterprise in 10 months. It is a large-scale project worth GEL 30 mln, part of this amount is the loan of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. Why did you decide to begin construction nowin terms of the currency crisis, when big business is experiencing bad times?
Many people probably think that today to start any projects is too risky, so everything must be frozen until better times. We think differently. To remain competitive, business needs constant development.
Today the country is suffering a currency crisis, but it has both negative and positive sides. For example, building materials, fuel and labor have become cheaper. We all counted, and came to the conclusion that it is very beneficial to start new construction.
The currency crisis concerns not only us, it’s a global problem. If it continues for 2-3 years, we should be ready for it, and the best thing we can do in this situation is to implement new projects.
That is, the devaluation of the national currency has played a positive role for you?
Businessmen should not be afraid of difficulties. We are always optimistic about everything. Problems will be solved, and so we shouldn’t stop.
Why did you get a loan from the EBRD and not from local banks? Is this due to the difference in the interest rate?
We have been collaborating with the EBRD for a long time, in addition, their loans are long-term and more preferential thanin the Georgian banks.
Cooperation with the EBRD has its own specifics, which Georgian banks don’t have – we have a much higher level of responsibility – for example, in the protection of the environment, social problems. Georgian banks have none of that – they just give money without any special conditions, while twice as expensive.
Are you going to start other projects?
Once the plant is built, we plan to build another processing facility. It will be a modern vegetable processing plant, and its implementation is likely to be launched in 2017. We already have 400 hectares of land in one of the regions of Georgia on which the plant will be built. We’ll buy vegetables from local residents.
What is the cost of the project, and will the EBRD participate in its funding?
The funding issue is not considered, however, getting the loan will not be a problem after the project is ready.
Today a lot of mineral waters are not used in Georgia. Licenses are issued, but the work is not carried out. What is the reason?
It is a matter of competition. a lot of companies are operating on the market and it is not easy to find a niche. We need more resources.
In addition, the sources are high in the mountains that is very often problematic due to the lack of infrastructure while the cost of construction, transportation and other expenses is much higher.
What would you change in terms of the business climate?
The biggest problem is still sale of products. The government should more clearly contribute to the development of exports, as the mineral waters should be mainly export-oriented. Local businesses find it very difficult to enter the export markets without state support.
In order to enter foreign markets, the company needs a lot of money. Today, we are helped by the state, for example, it helps us to participate in various exhibitions, but this is not enough.
Would you start your business in the current business climate, if you were beginner businessman?
I started the business about 20 years ago, when there was much more complicated situation in Georgia. Then all was a problem. Today everything is much better.
The main thing is the desire. If it is, everything will succeed.