The bakery titan recently inaugurated its upgraded Argentina production facility in San Fernando, close to Buenos Aires, that it initially acquired in 2016. Grupo Bimbo invested 600 million pesos (US$31m) in the upgrade, expanding production to include four new lines for frozen baguettes, pastries and croissants to supply the local market, neighboring Chile and eventually Paraguay and Uruguay.
Speaking to FoodNavigator-LATAM, the company said it had invested in San Fernando because this was “the most important industrial pole in the country” where most of its factories were based.
“Looking forward, the idea is to consolidate our position by leveraging the growth and investment we have made in the last three years. Throughout that time, we inaugurated a factory in the Córdoba province and expanded our San Fernando plant,” Grupo Bimbo said.
Argentina still a 'competitive operation'
Grupo Bimbo kickstarted operations in Argentina 23 years ago in the Buenos Aires Province, opening its first plant in the Pilar area.
It said Argentina remained a “competitive operation” that allowed it to export and sell to other countries in the region.
Despite the country's fragile economy – Argentina was recently granted a $50bn International Monetary Fund loan (the largest in the IMF organization's history) – Grupo Bimbo said it had strong hopes moving forward.
“We expect that the economic outlook will be better in the future and we will continue to bet on our growth in the country, both through the internal market and through exports to new destinations.”
Grupo Bimbo was currently awaiting the corresponding permits to export pre-cooked baked goods, mainly frozen baguettes and pastries, from the upgraded San Fernando plant to Paraguay and Uruguay – both “growing markets with a lot of potential”.
Currently, its most important brands in Argentina were Bimbo, Fargo (acquired in 2011) and Valente (acquired in 2013). Grupo Bimbo launched a number of new products onto the market recently, including wholegrain bread lines 'Bimbo Integral' and 'Bimbo con Lino'; a range of Golden Berry caramel and jam cakes; and three new snack products under its Marinela brand.
“Our most emblematic products are our breads, rolls and sweet baked goods, but we also have local products such as alfajores. Additionally, with this latest expansion we are now producing frozen bakery products,” it said.
Grupo Bimbo recently posted a 87% profit plunge for the second quarter of 2018, a result of a $105m cash payout for its voluntary redundancy scheme in the US and higher integration costs, including the recent acquisition of China baking group Mankattan.