Five years after inaugurating its first plant in Mexico, Italian chocolatier Ferrero Rocher has started new investments to increase its production capacity in the country, which could reach US$ 200 million, said the director of the company for Mexico and Central America, Paolo Cornero.
In an interview with state-owned news outlet Notimex, the official said that the development of these plans will depend on the acceptance of the new products they are putting on the table in both domestic and foreign markets.
He stressed that every year they make investments to maintain and update the plant and for the innovation laboratory to continue its work, but in addition to that, "we have some projects, which are still confidential."
According to the manager, Ferrero Rocher has 178,000 square meters of land in San Jose Iturbide, Guanajuato, of which only 40,000 have been used, so they consider making expansions and maybe even duplicating the plant.
"We allocate some US$40 or 50 million a year in innovation and research, depending on the project, and despite these expenses, we do not rule out building another plant adjacent to the current one, which cost US$ 200 million," said the official.
Cornero revealed that last year sales grew at a double-digit rate, both in volume and value, while in 2018 they expect to grow 7.5% in volume and more than 11% in value.
"We are leaders in terms of value, with around 23% of the chocolate market in general, in the field of fine chocolate we are the leader, as in chocolate for children. The most important thing for us is to have quality products, in adequate portions, with very high-quality ingredients ".
No fear of NAFTA and elections
Regarding the future of Mexico, Cornero said that so far, the economic picture looks very good, regardless of what happens with the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
"We see Mexico with great confidence, if you put a plant in the country it is because you have confidence in it, the plant, unlike a representative office, is not so easy to relocate, it is not like putting wheels on it and taking it with you, we installed it because we believe a lot in Mexico. "
According to Cornero, about 40% of the production of the Guanajuato plant is exported to markets such as the United States, Canada and Central America, while the rest remain in the country.
"We are confident that this (NAFTA) can not affect us more than a bit, maybe in the short term, but in economy these things last a short time, you just have to know what your ultimate goal is," he said.