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Ferrero Rocher plans to take bigger bite in S'pore market

Publication Date : 05-12-2013

 

The company behind hazelnut chocolate brand Ferrero Rocher plans to take a bigger bite of the regional market, using its Singapore headquarters as the launchpad.

But it will retain its strategy of focusing on only a few key products.

Only five of Italian confectionery company Ferrero's products are available in Southeast Asia, but it offers a much wider range in Europe.

This is part of the firm's strategy to "focus on a few things in each region and do them well", said its general manager for Southeast Asia, Rudolph Sequeira.

As well as the popular Ferrero Rocher, the company also distributes hazelnut spread Nutella, chocolate brands Kinder Joy and Kinder Bueno, and Tic Tac sweets in Southeast Asia.

Sequeira spoke to The Straits Times on the sidelines of the launch of Ferrero's latest corporate social responsibility (CSR) report, held Wednesday at the National Library Building.

The report outlines the company's CSR efforts, ranging from setting up social enterprises to sourcing for sustainable ingredients.

Singapore is Ferrero's headquarters for the region, with 80 staff employed here.

It is the world's fourth largest confectionery company, and is now headed by the third generation of the Ferrero family.

In the past year, the company has set up a new subsidiary in Malaysia, and offices in Indonesia and the Philippines.

Ferrero is also exploring opportunities in Vietnam, Cambodia and Myanmar, said Sequeira.

While 80 per cent of the company's sales still come from European markets, "Asia is becoming more dominant and important, and we are now investing more outside of Europe," said Sequeira, who has been with the company for more than 12 years.

"Over the next 10 years, the balance between Europe and the rest of the world is likely to change dramatically, and we want to ensure a better balance between our sales from Europe and from emerging markets."

A panel discussion about CSR issues in Asia was also held at Wednesday's event.

Erin Lyon, the executive director of research and consultancy firm CSR Asia, said CSR must be more closely linked to company profits in the minds of board directors, before it can become second nature to businesses.

"Companies have to work out which are the material issues that will impact their long run survival and what their stakeholders expect the company to be involved in," she added.

Fellow panellist Eugene Lim, the deputy director of corporate community investment at the National Volunteer & Philanthropy Centre (NVPC), said companies should also aim to measure the impact of their CSR efforts, which will contribute to the sustainability of these programmes in the long run.

 

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