Nestlé Egypt has a positive outlook on and strong commitment to the local market, according to Suresh Narayanan, Chairman and CEO of Nestlé in the North East African (NEAR) region talking to Daily News Egypt. Narayanan said this through reviewing key steps that were taken by the company in the past few years and the main aspects of Nestlé’s plan for the coming period.
What is the company’s outlook for the Egyptian market this year?
We are very optimistic about the Egyptian market in 2015. Today there are real signs that the country is resuming strong economic growth, you have a very large and young population that has high demands, and moreover Egypt has an abundance of talent that is very skilled. Collectively this should create a sense of confidence and optimism as international markets demonstrate their confidence through big increases of foreign investment a return to Egypt’s stock market and upwards revisions from ratings agencies.
How did Nestlé react towards challenges present in the Egyptian market? What do you think are the main opportunities to be exploited?
The last four years has seen a lot of challenges in the social, economic and political space as a consequence of the Arab Spring. Despite the numerous obstacles, Nestlé has grown handsomely in Egypt and continued to invest significantly behind manufacturing and distribution facilities and skill development. This speaks very positively about Egyptian talent, their resilience, commitment and rising to tough business challenges.
As a country, Egypt has a pivotal geo-political and economic role to play in the Arab World. The various steps now being taken to reduce subsidies, streamline laws and foster a better investment climate should help to accelerate economic growth and create much needed employment in a very “youthful” country.
What were the most prominent steps taken by the company in Egypt in the past few years? What are the main aspects of the company’s plan in the coming period?
Since 2011, we have invested close to EGP 1bn in Egypt and doubled our local work force from 3,200 to our current 6,300 employees. This proves Nestlé’s commitment to the Egyptian market and the importance of its large scale labour and consumer potential. For Nestlé, Egypt is and will continue to be an important centre for trade and production.
There are projects that are in our annual plan which will expand our production, manufacturing and distribution capacities, in addition to helping us create more jobs. With the government reforms and expected economic growth, we plan to continue our commitment to the market.
The snacking industry is one of the fastest growing industries in Egypt, with many snack products being launched to cater to the growing needs of Egyptian teens and young adults. We at Nestlé are always planning a series of projects to take on, and looking for collaborations with the government to spread Nutrition, Health and awareness across Egypt, we are very much committed to this market and will continue to launch campaigns to showcase our commitment.