Cool Vega Company was born in 2016 in Alhama de Murcia as an SME and in a few years it has become one of the leading producers of gazpacho, grated tomato and salmorejo for white brands in mass distribution. The company, which also supplies Belén Esteban’s company, calculates that this year it will shoot up 67% of its turnover, reaching 15 million euros, its best result to date.
2021 was a turning point for the company. It managed to increase revenue to 6.89 million euros, compared to 3 million a year earlier, thanks, in large part, to the fact that in April they launched the new product lines that they prepare for the television collaborator, ‘Los Sabores de the Stephen. However, the ‘core business’ (main business) continues to be production for private labels. For its part, last year it rose to 9 million, so that once 2023 ends, the growth in sales in three years will be 118%, while it has warned the gross operating result (Ebitda) in 1, 2 million euros.
The general director of the company, Antonio Molina, ‘reveals’ in conversation with La Información which is the secret ingredient to achieve this growth. “The key is to be more efficient, to do more with less. We have managed to increase the contribution margin by 628%, the gross margin by 147% and personnel expenses have dropped by 10.67%”, he underlines. In this sense, he affirms that the company is prepared to continue growing and that for this it will invest 2.5 million in 2024 to expand its production facilities and storage capacity with the purchase of new refrigerators. “We are running out of small clothes. We need to enlarge both the warehouse and the cold room, the loading and unloading docks… We will continue to grow,” Molina highlights.
In this context of expansion, the manager does not rule out any type of operation in the future, either through the entry into the capital of an investment fund or any other type of shareholder, which “in addition to money” can contribute synergies with other industries and the development of Cool Vega in other areas such as technology. “It is always something that is on the table and that we would be very interested in studying,” he adds.
On the other hand, it values the company’s location: 20 minutes from Mazarrón, half an hour from Cartagena and one hour from Almería. “We are not going to leave Alhama de Murcia. One of our main levers is the use of ultra-fresh products, freshly picked from the garden, and around us are practically all the vegetables in Spain. We have to be where we have to be” , point. The plant has a surface area of 6,000 square meters and the plot itself has a total of 20,000 square meters, so Cool Vega Company (owned by Spanish capital) has enough space to build another factory next to the current one.
“It is perfectly prepared to duplicate installations if necessary”, indicates Molina. In an effort to continue growing, last year it also closed a ‘joint venture’ with Juver, one of the largest in the national juice and nectar sector. In the first place, the agreement due so that Cool Vega could sell its gazpacho and salmorejo in the refrigerated briks that Juver manufactures. Subsequently, the idea was to create new collaborative projects in other business areas.
Cool Vega produces under its own brand (Vib’s) and also for other brands and companies in the sector. For example, it is one of Mercadona’s two suppliers of grated tomato. In this sense, you can develop ‘turnkey’ or tailor-made projects, from product development, through ‘copacking’ and distribution. In addition, it offers different formats to its customers (aseptic packaging in PET, tubs, brik, in bulk and cut vegetables for IV range).
To be more competitive and save on its electricity bill, in 2020 it installed a photovoltaic plant with a power of 550 kilowatts (kW), with an investment of half a million euros (it received European aid worth 100,000 euros). The generation of the plant is about 780,000 kilowatt hours (kWh) per year, which saves emissions into the atmosphere of 400 tons of carbon dioxide.
In addition, it uses PET containers (recyclable material) and RPET containers (recycled and recyclable material) in all production and has a treatment plant that eliminates solids and chemical compounds used for cleaning and disinfection of the plant to discharge water. waste-free sewage. With regard to organic waste, a waste management company collects the remains of vegetables to be consumed by livestock. And finally, the plastics and cardboard are sent to a composting plant for recycling.