Few people are aware that Alba-Trade GmbH in Vienna, Austria is the first BALFIN Group company founded by the Group’s President, Samir Mane in 1993. Over the past 29 years, the company has grown and has become one of the leading wholesale and retail trade players of major technology brands such as Samsung, Xiaomi, Apple, Sony PlayStation, and Lenovo, which have entrusted Alba-Trade with their official and exclusive representation in the Balkan region.
To gain a deeper insight into the company’s present and future, we interviewed Alban Caslli, the Managing Director of Alba-Trade Ges.m.b.H, a native Albanian, based in Vienna, Austria.
Alba-Trade is one of the largest wholesale companies of household appliances. What are the most tangible results that the company can be proud of today and how were they achieved?
Since its establishment, Alba-Trade has been focusing on the development of the market according to the latest market trends in electronic technology. Therefore, Alba Trade has made it one of its main priorities to obtain new contracts with the world’s most renowned brands and invite new Brands to expand their business in the Balkans by contacting us for partnership in this region.
We have been a successful distributor for more than thirty years thanks to our comprehensive market knowledge in the region and business planning synchronized with the sales policies of our international partners. Business volume and solid capital turnover have made us a reliable and strategic partner. Alba-Trade alone has grown by about 15% in the last three years. This has given us stability, self-confidence and long-term partnerships in the Balkans and beyond.
Which markets does Alba-Trade supply and what products are most in-demand?
Let me share here some of the types of businesses that Alba-Trade operates as a wholesale point. We have contractual relationships where we represent renowned brands in the electronic industry in Albania, North Macedonia, Kosovo and since 2020 Croatia. Based on our wholesale structure inherited since Alba Trade’s inception, we also operate wholesale on a global scale including companies outside Europe. We currently have distribution points that operate under the daily business models introduced in Hong Kong, Dubai and Miami.
We represent international companies with a variety of products to meet the buyers’ needs. In recent years, we have observed an increase in the interest and sales of various smart device categories. This is of course an international trend that is spreading rapidly in the Balkans markets.
Who are Alba Trade’s business partners and if new partners will be added, who will they be?
Alba Trade has cooperation agreements with some of the most remarkable companies in the world of technology. I’d like to highlight here Samsung, Xiaomi, Sony Play Station, Apple etc. We have representation agreements with these companies or even exclusivity agreements for their distribution in the Balkan countries.
Alba Trade, in addition to supplying the retail network of Neptun International, a subsidiary of BALFIN Group, is also currently acting as a distributor for other countries of the region, covering all sales of retail companies. Having completed the initial project in Croatia, we plan to open the same facility in Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina in 2022. We hope that the current international situation will favour our plans for these projects.
What does it mean for an Albanian-founded company to operate and cooperate from Vienna with these international partners?
Although Alba Trade’s success is a source of pride to us, in the international business world where we operate the country of origin or nationality is irrelevant. With the internet age we live in, the speed of communication, and the exchange of information from continent to continent within seconds have broken down these barriers in time. Alba Trade was built to be competitive in the Balkan markets, the European Union and internationally and we have achieved that and enjoy a very good reputation on all fronts. Alba Trade’s business model and tradition allow all staff members, no matter their role, to get immediately involved in the hectic day-to-day processes, making them an integral part of the success of the company. Our staff has gained considerable experience in international business concepts.
What was the performance of 2021 and what is the forecast for 2022?
The year 2021 was one of the most interesting years in our history. Though we faced multiple shortages in the supply of goods, the market received a substantial development, which enabled us to achieve our budgetary plan and even exceed forecasts. In 2021 Alba Trade achieved a turnover of 75.6 million Euros.
2022 is yet an enigma, which we hope will calm down as soon as possible in terms of a global situation. Several of the standardized processes have already begun to be impacted by the current regional situation, which we are all familiar with. We believe that 2022 will be a successful year again, and we will achieve our goals on every front.
I hope that 2022 will prove to be a successful year which will achieve the budgetary plans.