Croatia to Become Home of Biggest Tea Factory in Region

Lauren Simmonds

A tale of smart investment and the proper use of EU funds.

The Croatian company, which will double its current number of 150 employees with new investment and the efficient use of European Union cash, successfully exports almost 80 percent of its products.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Suzana Lepan-Štefančić/VL writes on the 4th of April, 2018, Pitomača, in Virovitica-Podravina County, will become the proverbial “center of the world” for tea, as the Spider Group is set to build a new, much larger factory. It will also mean a jobs for at least 150 employees.

“It will be the largest factory for equipping teas within the wider region, a four million euro investment, half of which will be invested in new production lines. Two million euro has been withdrawn from EU funds,” stated Denis Nemčević, CEO of Spider Group.

This group interconnects, among others, Jan-spider d.o.o., which supplies large tea factories all over the world. They deal with the brands Gardenolo and Naturavita, as well as private brands for large chains, such as Coop in Italy, Aldi France, Lidl Italy, Hofer Austria, Auchan Russia, and so forth.

“The plans and needs are great, and the capacity is inadequate, so we’ve decided, because of the business policy, to build a new factory in a new location, so that we’ll have it all in one place,” Nemčević added, expecting these plants to open as early as the beginning of 2019. As many as ten million tea boxes will be packed this year, and the capacity of the future factory will be around twenty million boxes. Due to the large exports, just a small number of them will end up on the Croatian market.

“We export nearly 80 percent of our products, and all of our new projects are exclusively export-related. We deal with Lidl in seven countries, including Germany and France,” he noted.

Otherwise, the Italian company Everton, the leading private label retailer on the Italian market, is the co-owner of Herbarijum, which opened Spider’s door to Europe. In the second phase, Spider Group became co-owner of Everton, which has a large tea factory in India, which will likely lead to a wealth of new opportunities and open doors for the Croatian company.

Spider’s chamomile is grown here in Croatia, while materials for other items are being sought at their respective sources, for example, hibiscus in Nigeria, Sudan, Vietnam, etc. When the teas are processed and packed, they are sent back out into the world. The company saw approximately 65 million kuna in consolidated income last year, with 150 employees, a number which could hopefully be doubled.

“Alongside new jobs, it’s also important for the Spider Group to acquaint itself to the agricultural producers who will then find their market,” noted Pitomača’s mayor, Željko Grgačić.


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