Almost half of the leva 10m (€5m) investment was provided through the European Regional Development Fund in a deal agreed in 2009. The funding was designed to boost the competitiveness of the company as part of a wider plan to support overall growth in Bulgaria between 2007 and 2013.
According to Euromonitor, local contender Pobeda currently ranks number five in retail confectionery in Bulgaria, behind multinationals Kraft, Nestle, Mars and Ferrero.
Overall confectionery sales in the country have been growing at a healthy 5.2% per year and are set to reach $355.5 m by 2016, said the market analysts. Chocolate sales account for the biggest share and are growing even faster at 6.3%, putting them on track to reach $270.6m.
In contrast with Euromonitor’s longer-term estimates, however, Pobeda told local reporters that consumption of confectionery has fallen in the first half of 2011, with volume sales falling while value sales rose. "This is due to the increase in prices of a number of commodities, driven by soaring raw material costs," said the company.
This follows flat value sales for Pobeda across the board between 2009 and 2010. The company sells 95% of its products on the domestic market, although it also exports to Georgia, Poland, Romania and elsewhere.
Retail and catering
Some of Pobeda’s most famous products are pralines, including the Chernomorets brand. The company also makes biscuits, mini-cakes and croissants. The company offers private label products for retail chains in Bulgaria and abroad and catering packs for hotels across in Bulgaria.
The new production lines are currently being tested before moving to full production, said the company.
The new lines will produce waffles and crackers, and Pobeda said it expects to launch at least one new product by the end of the year and several more by the end of 2012, according to reports in Bulgarian business daily Dnevnik.
Pobeda was established in 1929 in Bourgas, where its main factory remains today.