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Supply Chain Finance to protect the supply chain: the case of Premiati Oleifici Barbera

We are the only historical Italian olive oil company that is still led by the family that founded it – said with pride Manfredi Barbera, CEO of Premiati Oleifici Barbera and heir to a 130-year history, telling us about his company.

Italian olive oil has a global reputation, and comes top in terms of quality and prestige. It is believed that there were 5 up and coming family businesses in the 1800s, but now we are the last of these Italian companies still owned by the original family. The company has changed a lot in 130 years, but we have achieved unexpected results in recent times, with double-digit growth year on year.

This has gone alongside investments; we have been investing in primary production over the last 3 years, and have plans to diversify our core business to include top-quality Sicilian products – also within the catering sector – opening channels for direct sales.

We opened a subsidiary in the United States three years ago, which is wholly controlled by Barbera Italia, and we recently acquired a building in New Jersey where we’re setting up a showroom, and hope to move our representative offices there soon.

Our young, loyal employees are the backbone of our company. We like to select our workers primarily from a human standpoint, and then to focus on their training and specialist skills.

How long have you been customers of Banca Ifis? And how did Banca Ifis support you in arranging Supply Chain Finance?

We have been working with Banca Ifis for about 5 years. In terms of economic management, ours is a sector that requires large, rapid injections of capital, especially during the harvesting period, so from the end of September to the end of January. Potentially, we need 100% of what we are putting in. This is because our sector is generally very vulnerable to price volatility, and so also to speculation. We are rather a particular business in this context, as about 30 – 40% of our turnover consists of a Sicilian product.

We never adopt speculative strategies in relation to our Sicilian product, because we play almost a political/social role in the Sicilian supply chain. So, we do not do the accounts if it is better to open the contributions, and those are always open because we believe deeply in supporting the supply chain in our region.

What are the future plans for Premiati Oleifici Barbera?

One of our main objectives is to further strengthen Manfredi Barbera USA, which doubled its results even during the years of the pandemic.

We would also like to open up the main facility in Custonaci to hospitality by setting up an educational farm, an olive oil museum, a store and a restaurant. We would like to do the same at the port of Palermo and perhaps later elsewhere. And in addition to olive oil, we would like to offer other excellent Sicilian products such as capers from Pantelleria, Malvasia wine from the Aeolian Islands, and pistachios from Bronte.