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Biscuits: Excelo against Turkish and Egyptian competition

Best Biscuits Morocco, the biscuit sector of the Anouar Invest group, resolutely sets out to conquer the Moroccan biscuit market by deploying more capacity and innovation. To this end, the manufacturer who offers a wide variety of products, under the umbrella brand Excelo, has adopted an ambitious investment plan in three phases covering the period 2018 to 2020 with an envelope of MAD 300 million.

Since August 2018, the industrialist has completed the first phase of this investment plan that has mobilized MAD 120 million for the acquisition and commissioning of two new production lines at German Bosch. The investment made it possible to extend Had Soualem’s production unit and enrich the catalog with a new product (a chocolate bar), already in the top 3 of its sales.

“There are opportunities to seize. As a leader, it is up to us to develop an innovative and accessible offer to the Moroccan consumer facing imported products. The introduction of innovative products on the market with their technology will allow us to increase our quality/price ratio. This will allow us to pull the market up. To this end, we will not skimp on equipment or raw materials to offer products whose quality remains intact with aging,” said Rachid El Allam, Chief Executive Officer of Best Biscuits Morocco.

Estimated at 2.7 billion dirhams of annual turnover, the Moroccan biscuit market is growing by 4 or 5% per year. The five leading manufacturers, headed by Best Biscuits Morocco, Mondelez Morocco, Henry’s, Michoc and Biscuiterie Moderne Zine, are facing increasingly aggressive Turkish and Egyptian competition in terms of price.

Top 3 direct competitors of Moroccan biscuits include Spaniards, Turks and Egyptians. Subsidized by the countries of origin and not bearing any customs duty on imports because of free trade agreements, the latter are selling more and more their products in Morocco. Imported products show annual growth of more than 20% in all segments: wafers, sponge cakes, biscuits and madeleines.

“Competition benefits from the free trade agreement, which is perfectly normal. But we still need to be valued at the same level of equality. Today, we do not have a subsidy on cookies. There is simply an alignment of tariffs, what other producers are doing in their home country. That’s all we have benefited,” says El Allam, who asks half-words a grant like the competitors.

As part of the implementation of measure of the National Pact for Industrial Emergence, signed between the Government and the CGEM on February 13, 2009, the State is benefiting industrial importers operating in the agricultural sector including biscuits, confectionery and chocolate, annual quotas on the import of inputs (refined sugar, skimmed milk powder, whole milk powder and soft wheat biscuit) at 2.5% of customs duties.

In a context where professionals in the sector bear the full brunt of upward market trends in raw materials prices or strategic inputs (cocoa, fat …), the measure eases the pressure on costs, allowing industry players to gain competitiveness or “defend on equal terms” with importers. These inputs, which enter into their manufacturing process, represent 60 to 70% of the cost of finished products.

Displayed objective: Balancing the balance of power by supporting the local industry so that it is not losing ground against importers. The stakes are of several kinds, in particular the safeguarding of a local industry providing jobs.

The 2018-2020 investment plan of the Anouar Invest Group’s biscuit sector is counting on the creation of 600 futures jobs. At the end of September, the industrialist will reach 400 jobs. As its production lines are fully automated, the positions to be filled will mainly concern operational, supervisory and supervisory tasks.

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