For Tarkett, a possibility to produce and sell its products from Serbia, on the markets and in the countries with which Serbia has signed free trade treaties was particularly interesting, in addition to tax regulations, which were very attractive for the investors
Over the past decade, Serbian wood industry highlighted the most attractive sectors for foreign investors. French Tarkett, Italian Ditre and Gruppo Fantoni, Austrian Kronospan and many others have built their factories in Serbia in order to supply not only the local market, but also the EU and the ever growing Russian market.
The wood processing and furniture industry comprises 3,350 companies employing 55,005 workers. More than 90% of enterprises are privately owned and mainly are located in the central areas of Serbia. The majority of these companies deal in timber and wood products, while the rest are engaged in furniture production. The sector’s share in Serbia’s GDP is 1.4%, while the wood processing industry’s contribution to total export amounts to 7,5%, with an ongoing positive growth trend over the last few years.
Serbia’s logging is managed by public enterprise Srbijašume (www.srbijasume.rs ) and Vojvodinašume (www.vojvodinasume.rs ). These enterprises determine the quality of wood required from domestic sources and makes allocations to companies/individuals engaged in logging. Allocations are revised and adjusted depending of market requirements, availability and accessibility of timber. At the end of the each year, companies may conclude an annual contract with Srbijasume and Vojvodinasume to ensure the supply for coming year.
Serbia is among largest producer of sawn hardwood in the Balkans. Sawmills make up 49% of the total number of wood processing companies and at the same time, sawn wood accounts for 19,8% of exports in this sector.
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Highly qualified staff in Serbia is widely available. The labor force in Serbia is well educated, innovative and equipped with strong management skills. The number of engineers, machinists, managers, and other specialists is sufficient to meet the growing demand of international companies.
High schools and faculties with programs that are concerning furniture industry are working with the industry to continuously tailor their programs to fit the market needs, developing future employees that are ready to contribute from day one
The Faculty of Forestry of the University of Belgrade is the oldest and the highest scientific institution in the fields of forestry, wood processing, landscape architecture, horticulture and ecological engineering. Cooperation between the Faculty and the private sector has been changing according to market needs.
Today, Faculty is actively contributing to the development of forest base industry in the whole region. In order to serve the market needs the Faculty has established a laboratory for furniture quality control and for wood surface management as well as Center for furniture design and planning.
The Faculty has been a full member of European Association of the Faculties of Forestry since 2009. This provides a solid basis for continues exchange of information and for initiation of joint projects. In addition, the Faculty has been recognized as one of the key institutions in Eastern Europe in implementing the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD).
Serbia’s furniture market is a demanding, versatile market which generates many possibilities for furniture producers. All categories of furniture and furnishings are produced in the country, such as household kitchens, office, shop fixtures, hotels, restaurants, nurseries, and schools. A number of Serbian companies also manufacture interior cabinetry and custom made furniture. Furniture is sold on the domestic market in retail chains: Jisk, Ikea, Emmezeta, local manufacturers such as Matis, Forma Ideale, Simpo, in addition to furniture production, have also developed their own furniture design and distribution.
Although most of the production is carried out by medium companies, micro and small enterprises have an important part in the furniture industry when it comes to the product development of small quantities or the custom designed furniture.
These family-owned companies have been successfully exporting products to the EU market for years and are often aligned with construction companies to provide furniture and furnishings for buildings throughout Serbia, Russia, Middle East and other markets.
Furniture is generally produced from particle board. Particle board is the wood product with the highest demand in Serbia. Although Austrian company Kronospan invested in Serbia the request for particle boards is still very high.
The demand for high-quality solid wood furniture is ever present locally, as well as on foreign markets. Only 30% of all furniture in Serbia is produced from solid wood and a great potential for investment lies in this relatively unexplored sector, particularly considering the segment’s demand growth internationally.