Bravo (Sofia)

Bravo (Sofia)

The outskirts of Sofia not only host some of Bulgaria's industrial giants of the communist period such as the Kremikovtzi Steel Works. In recent years, many new companies have emerged, from textile producers to call centres.

Ognian Lulchev is a man in his 40s who in 1993 started a small meat processing company with 10 people, producing a daily output of around 300 kg at that time. The troubled year of 1996 brought not only down Bulgaria's banking system and its currency, but nearly also "Bravo", Lulchev's company. From 1997 business began to improve, however. This year Bravo produced its first sausages and could raise employment to 100 workers.

Today Bravo's premises extend over 3 hectares and its new buildings offer space of 6,000 square metres. The grass between the buildings is perfectly maintained like on a golf course. It employs 350 people, out of which only 160 work in production. Most of the remainder work on trade and marketing and transport. In the company's meeting room a huge map which can be illuminated to show the network of distributors over the whole country. In 2005 turnover stood at € 12 million and has increased by another 20% in the fist six months of 2006. Daily output is now 30 tons.

Like 356 other food processors, Bravo has benefited from a SAPARD project, allowing to buy 6 machines for the production of sausages. One of these can inject sauces or cheese into sausages. The project amounted to € 1.5 million, and a second SAPARD project is under way.

Although the SAPARD project amounted to only a fraction of Bravo's investments over the last five years, it allowed Bravo to develop quicker, which was crucial with regard to meeting EU standards."The impact is not so much on quantity, but on quality," says Lulchev."We are now able to produce products with longer durability and will – through the second SAPARD project – improve our packaging."  Bravo had hired a lawyer specialised in EU issues and back in 2002 already prepared a strategy for the company how to meet EU standards."Over the last years we not only brought up our production standards to EU level, but we also reformed the internal structure of our company. An additional benefit of SAPARD was that we have learned how to design EU-style projects."* ESI interview with Ognian Lulchev, director of Bravo company, 24 October 2006. In 2006 the company applied for a licence to be able to export to the EU.

Results for the SAPARD measure "improving processing and marketing of agricultural products" has – except for the milk sector, already achieved the target indicators by end 2005 and partially considerably exceeded.

Table: Performance for measure 1.2 – improving processing and marketing of agricultural products (by 31 December 2005)* Annual Report on Sapard Implementation in the Republic of Bulgaria for the period January 1st 2005 to December 31st 2005, May 2006, pp. 26-29.

Sector

Indicator

NARDP indicator (aim)

Approved projects

Completed projects

Wine

nr. of companies

40

33

26

 

As% of total nr of comp.

 

25%

20%

 

Improvement (tons)

92,000

137,653

126,747

Fruit and vegetables

nr. of companies

35

56

41

 

As% of total nr of comp.

 

42%

31%

 

Improvement (tons)

101,000

214,012

149,451

Milk and milk products

nr. of companies

50

26

19

 

As% of total nr of comp.

 

9%

6%

 

Improvement (tons)

250,000

214,238

117,042

Meat

nr. of companies

45

81

66

 

As% of total nr of comp.

 

13%

11%

 

Improvement (tons)

97,000

121,360

108,331

Fish and fish products

nr. of companies

10

13

11

 

As% of total nr of comp.

 

28%

24%

 

Improvement (tons)

7,200

8,949

7,408