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Italian business Opem S.p.a. opens its first foreign subsidiary in Brazil

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After distributing its coffee vacuum pack filling systems to the top coffee manufacturers in Brazil for over 20 years, Italian firm OPEM S.p.A. based in Parma, has decided its plans for internationalisation have to start with the opening of a subsidiary in Brazil in premises located in Metropolitan São Paulo.

“OPEM BRASIL” is 20/30 minutes by car from Guarulhos airport. The premises include offices and warehouse space that has been completely renovated and newly furnished.

The result is an ideal match for the mood and style of Opem Italia. The customers who already know us cannot fail to notice this compact subsidiary gives you a sense of continuity with the mother company.

The branch was officially opened on September 16th 2016 with many Brazilian coffee manufacturers attending the event in addition to members of the press, the management of Opem Italia S.p.A. and the Consul General of Italy São Paulo, Mr. Michele Pala.

opem brazil
From the left: Ombretta Sarassi, Fabio Binacchi, Marcelo Provetti

“We are expecting a lot from the new subsidiary in terms of system sales, as it will be able to work with customers in Chile, Argentina and Mercosul countries and not just customers in Brazil, offering them traditional systems as well as coffee capsule systems”, said Fabio Binacchi, CEO of Opem S.p.A., during his welcome speech, referring to the innovative entry – level systems such as the CR1P / CR2P for filling and packing various types of capsules, and subsequently moving on to the sale of the higher production models already used by larger coffee manufacturers in Europe and the United States.

“Setting up at São Paulo, and in Brazil in general, is a great challenge for us”, said Ombretta Sarassi, general manager of Opem Italia S.p.A, stressing that this is the ideal time for the firm to take up the challenge of internationalization. “Once we had identified the ideal premises and the perfect team, we decided to invest here. We have high hopes for the capsules market, because there is huge potential in this field here in Brazil and in surrounding countries,” she added.

“We have brought a bit of the culture of Parma to this small corner of São Paulo, and we will definitely take a bit of Brazilian culture back to Italy with us. I feel at home here; the people really make you feel welcome.”

The Consul General of Italy, Michele Pala, also attended the event, pointing out that the duties of consulates and embassies also include supporting Italian businesses, a great source of pride. “Demonstrating that our expertise and technology is well worth importing here also means that the Italian business system believes in Brazil. It is a very important moment, congratulations to Opem for the investment it is making here; it is the right time for them to go ahead because the firm is already very familiar with the Brazilian market, so they know what they are doing. Best wishes to them all”.

Opem Brasil is managed by company partner and Sales Director Marcelo Provetti, who has over 16 years of experience in the coffee packaging industry.
Marcelo Provetti had always heard good things about Opem Italia but his first proper contact with the firm came about in 2011.

It proved to be an opportunity to get a proper understanding of the organization and philosophy of Opem S.P.A.
In 2012, he was invited to Italy to discuss the prospect of representing Opem in Brazil.

The decision to open a branch in Brazil came to a head in October 2015, and we were ready to open up shop in
record time on 16th September 2016.

“For me, this is a professional dream come true because the coffee market has expanded significantly and we enjoyed some good sales to new coffee manufacturers while I was a sales representative. OPEM S.p.A. is a very solid company, very professional, and focused 90% on the coffee market. We like to say we treat coffee with the respect it deserves, because it is not just a food product, it’s a very important beverage for the Brazilian economy”.

As agreed with the Sales Director, the initial focus will be on the sale of new equipment and the associated technical services provided by Brazilian engineers, who have been properly trained and qualified. This represents significant added value for customers as it cuts down on time and costs and boosts their confidence in OPEM after their purchase of a new system.

“As well as the sale of systems, there is a complete system in the warehouse for the production of three types of capsules, so we can also offer consulting services, testing and production for coffee manufacturers or for start-up companies interested in this business. In view of the fiscal flexibility that exists between Mercosul countries, we are also considering the opportunity of producing entry-level systems directly over here. The three year investment plan is worth 2 million Euros and I personally feel responsible for getting to breakeven point as quickly as possible.”

“Initially we were thinking of focusing on the “single-dose” market, but we noted that vacuum packs of ground coffee have been making headway again over the last year. The sale of several vacuum packaging systems designed with cutting edge technical solutions, made us realize that this packing method is still very important. Opem has always been a leader in this type of system, so nothing should be underestimated.”

Impact on the market
“Knowing that a company like Opem sees Brazil as a country for growth and expansion gives us great pleasure, since our market is not only growing in terms of public demand, but also in terms of quality”, said Nathan Herszkowivz, executive director of ABIC – Associação Brasileira da Indústria de Café [Brazilian Coffee Industry Association].

“Consumers here are better informed now, and this encourages demand for higher standards of quality, both in terms of the raw materials and systems. The capsules segment has registered important growth in this country, and the systems offered by Opem meet the demands of the main capsule machines. Furthermore, their business plan is designed to respond to the demands of customers by offering a capsule filling service for smaller coffee producers. There is no doubt that their launch will encourage the capsules market here, also as regards retail sales, since supermarkets want to offer capsules”.

For Sidney Marques de Paiva from manufacturer Café Bom Dia, the arrival of Opem in Brazil represents an event of some significance.

“We are the second largest industrial coffee market in the world, but we still did not have a systems manufacturer here, focusing on our country and on us, to respond to our needs. So this looks fantastic to us! I hope their arrival means we will have more opportunities to offer the Brazilian market the same as you can get in Europe”.

Coffee manufacturer Bom Dia already works with capsules and has an Opem machine for vacuum packs. “We are looking into buying a capsule machine and we are quite interested, because Opem is an excellent company with some excellent machines. Brazilian coffee roasting firms should be honored to have them here. Their arrival not only strengthens relations, it also facilitates the nationalization of products, thanks to the adjustments made to suit our country specifically”.

The arrival of Opem in Brazil was also celebrated by José Renato Gonçalves Dias, director of Café Orfeu (Fazenda Sertãozinho). “They have a great brand, great machines and having Opem in Brazil means being much closer to us customers. We will have closer access to technical support, to the latest products, and this is great. We already have several Opem machines for capsules and for vacuum packs. This latest news brings them closer to us and will help consolidate our relationship. What’s more, our machines have a remote monitoring device so they can be controlled directly in Italy if there are any issues, even if we have never had to use this option because there has never been a fault”.

Leonel Freire, supervising manager at Café São Braz, said he viewed the arrival of Opem as a very good thing because buying a system and then having to be completely dependent on another country is always complicated.

“The most important aspect is that they will deliver technical support here, and this is a great benefit for us. We have a vacuum packing machine by Opem, and we are looking into the idea of buying another. We like this machine a lot; we have had it for some time and it runs very well. I hope our relations can become even more solid with the arrival of Opem in Brazil”.

The Brazilian branch

Opem’s Brazilian HQ is located in premises that accommodate the administrative staff, offices and a meeting room, as well as a 680 sq. meter showroom where machines can be put on display leaving enough space to accommodate future plans for expansion.