Transavia Now €100-Million Business

ROMANIA - A profile of the owner of the country's top poultry company.
calendar icon 26 October 2009
clock icon 3 minute read

Ioan Popa, aged 52, is founder and majority shareholder of Romania's largest poultry processor, Transavia. He says he has never had partners and business advisors and says he has never made any compromises.

According to Ziarul Financiar, his ambition to be more than just another player on the market and the striving to constantly make a profit have been the trump cards he used in order to build a business he puts at €150 million.

A graduate of the zootechnical and veterinary medicine faculty in Cluj-Napoca, specialising in poultry rearing technology, Mr Popa has been working in the animal production field for more than 25 years.

Before setting up his own business, Mr Popa worked for seven years in the poultry industry, filling various positions, from head of farm to general manager of the state-held poultry plants in Alba and Sfantu Gheorghe.

However, only one year after the revolution, he moved from employee to entrepreneur status, and set up Transavia.

"In January 1991, I decided to leave the state-held plant where I was manager and set out to build a private business. A few months later, on 1 April 1991, I took part in an auction and acquired a collective farm on the outskirts of the city of Alba Iulia," he recalls.

Mr Popa started his Alba Iulia business, currently a group with over 1,300 employees and a turnover of more than €100 million with his own savings and a loan of over one million leu (RON).

He said: "In the early 90s, one million leu was an enormous sum, considering that back then the salary of a general manager was RON8,560."

Over the past four years, the businessman has invested almost €50 million in building a slaughterhouse, boosting production capacities, acquiring Avicola Brasov and Cerealcom Alba Iulia, as well as in building a ready-meals plant. These investments, especially the acquisition of Avicola Brasov – a deal put at €4 million – have enabled the businessman to leave his main competitors behind, and become market leader.

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