EBRD’s BAS Programe helps Armenian company introduce automated financial system

23.02.2010 19:15
EBRD’s BAS Programe helps Armenian company introduce automated financial system

YEREVAN, February 23, /ARKA/. The EBRD’s Business Advisory Services (BAS) Programme is helping NatFood CJSC, one of the leading meat products producers in Armenia, to improve business efficiency by introducing automated financial system.

A press release by EBRD said NatFood CJSC is one of Armenia’s leading producers of high-quality meat products, producing an assortment of over fifty types of sausages, boiled, semi-smoked, smoked and other meat products marketed under the Biella brand name. In May 2008, through a shareholder agreement, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) acquired a 28.3 per cent equity stake in NatFood for $4.35 million. This equity investment is supporting the expansion of Biella’s meat production capacities through the construction of a new processing plant in Armenia. The plant is equipped with state-of-the-art processing equipment and technology, making it unique in its type not only in Armenia, but in the region. The EBRD coupled its investment with the introduction of a corporate governance system in NatFood.

The new processing facility is aimed at increasing production capacities from 3 to 15 tonnes per day, diversifying the range of meat products (packaged fresh meat, canned meat and semi-finished products, etc.), ensuring product safety through compliance with internationally accepted health and safety standards, improving product quality, and the launching of a new premium brand targeted to export markets (Northern Russia, Georgia, Iran).

Natfood’s expansion and the reporting requirements imposed by its new partners, necessitated the modernization and automation of the company’s accounting and financial management information system and procedures. With assistance of the EBRD Business Advisory Services Programme in Armenia, NatFoods contracted Armenian Software LTD. to install a computerized financial management information system and train system users on data entry and system exploitation. Armenia Software Ltd is a local consulting company specialised in the development of customised IT solutions. In addition to allowing the production of numerous financial and accounting reports, automation of its financial system will enable NatFood to maintain efficient financial control of its activities, generate investor-specific and internal reports, and allow for more effective managerial decision making.

“Enterprises like NatFood are vital to the economic development of Armenia, and the EBRD BAS Programme has been successful in assisting such companies enhance their competitiveness through the introduction of quality management systems, strategic business planning, and other tools to help them create value for their companies”, says John Caracciolo, Head of Regional Programme for the TAM/BAS programme in the South Caucasus.

As Ruben Kopian, Director at Natfood stated: “The advisory services provided through the EBRD BAS Programme has enabled us to migrate our financial management and accounting from a manual to a fully automated system. This had allowed us to decrease the time spent on the preparation of financial reports by at least 60-70 per cent, and had greatly improved the accuracy of these reports”.

The BAS Programme in Armenia was established in 2003 with funding from the European Union. Further funding has been provided by the EBRD Early Transition Countries Fund (ETCF), Europeaid, Canada (CIDA), Taipei China, and U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). BAS has undertaken 639 advisory consultancies with small and medium enterprises (SMEs) throughout Armenia, engaging 87 mostly local consultants.

BAS is fully integrated into the EBRD’s activities, alongside banking and investment. In the 16 years since its inception, the BAS Programme has undertaken over 5,900 projects in 22 countries utilizing over €66.5 million in Donor funding. -0-

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