GROUND UP

Panama 2015 | ECONOMY | INTERVIEW

TBY talks to Haralambos Tzanetatos, President of Tzanetatos Inc, on building up the company, the broader real estate sector, and the most popular products.

Haralambos Tzanetatos
BIOGRAPHY
Haralambos Tzanetatos is the creator of a group of leading companies in the commercial area of food, household, personal care and real estate, among others.

What is the company's background story?

Tzanetatos Inc is one of the largest distributors of mass consumption products in Panama, with two in-house brands and other highly recognized imported brands. For over 50 years, Tzanetatos Inc has engaged in the distribution of the leading brands from several segments; food, personal care, cosmetics, household, and automotive, meeting consumers' diverse expectations. Over the years we have also diversified our activities to expand our horizons, and reduce our dependence on a particular market.

How does the company support the development of the retail sector in Panama?

Our two branches give us nationwide coverage for all product types. We also have a plant that produces cheese, butter, margarine, mayonnaise, mustard, sauces, and other condiments. We have installed state of the art machinery for both production and packaging. Overall, our offering is unique in this country; no one else can offer consumers the same quality and variety. This indicates how much we contribute to the development of the retail sector. At the same time, we serve some of the largest clients in Panama. For example, we provide margarine to Unilever and are the local sector leaders.

What is the scale of your distribution network?

The company has national coverage, supplying the various distribution channels such as supermarkets 100%, wholesale 95%, pharmacies 95 % and food services 95%. The company has its own fleet of 125 vehicles.

How has the company diversified its business activity?

Diversification has been a means of growing our business activity and curbing overdependence on any single economic sector. An example of this is when, a few years ago, we entered the construction sector. We built a seven-hectare shopping mall and three office buildings—two of which are about to be completed, with construction of the third to commence shortly. We also developed a Free Trade Zone (FTZ) that will host investors from diverse fields, and will include an assembly plant.

What are some of the most demanded products within your portfolio?

We have a wide range of products from several segments such as food, personal care, cosmetics, home, automotive, beverages, and spirits. In the personal care segment, we have body care products, products for babies, medicaments, and others. In short, we are the leading company in the sector. Some of the brands we represent are Disney, Lorenz, Quilmes, Isabel, Barbie, Academie, Hormel Foods, Hot Wheels, McCormick, Revlon, Samsung, and Surex. One of our goals is to provide products at more competitive prices, since supermarkets have strict requirements. We are open to establishing new partnerships with international brands in order to further build our portfolio and/or develop joint projects in sectors such as construction or logistics. Our company is looking to develop a maritime port with another partner, which would put us in a stronger position as a distributor.

What are your main goals for 2015?

We will open two new centers in order to improve our coverage and distribution network, offering products at more competitive prices. We will also develop other types of projects beyond our main business activities. I think the construction sector will play an increasing role in our overall business activity.