The Sanitex challenge

Bulgaria, a country of eight million inhabitants, has a tissue consumption of 3.3kg per capita. Tissue products are strictly guided by price - something that is putting basic products on top of the selling list with the largest piece of the pie by far.

Maura Leonardi

Looking at the economy, Standard & Poor confirmed Bulgaria’s rating as BBB, with a stable outlook. Accordingto S&P’s economic forecasts, the country’s GDP will grow by 1.7% in 2013 resulting in gradual growth in consumption. The market is dominated by low quality toilet rolls, prevalently made from 100%recycled paper whose colors recall vintage-style films. There is certainly room for growth in this market but a lot of focusing and desire to re-invent are needed.


Determined and dynamic are the words we can use to describe this young and emerging company led by its President Walid Gharby, who began his endeavor together with his brother Michael Gharby in 2008 when the Sanitex board of shareholders changed and they solely took over the ownership and full management of the company. Today, with 152 employees and a farsighted strategy aimed at the attainment of results, in 4 years Sanitex has earned 29% of the market for itself. “Starting off again has been the real challenge. In 2008 when we changed the company management, a new entrepreneurial adventure began that gave us the chance to embark on a new strategy leading to fundamental changes in the company’s organization and goals. We had to make strategic decisions in perfect harmony with market changes, in addition to a full spectrum of new policies that affected every part of the business in order to maximize work efficiency, profitability and loyalty in every step of the way to growth”, explains Gharby.

“Our strength has always been in proacting on all issues, making sound decisions and acting swiftly and responsibly. Our clearvision combined with a solid commitment and passion for the business has helped set achievable goals fora prominent future for Sanitex. Our ongoing monitoring of the quality-price ratiowas the main and key element that helped Sanitex conquer the market, leading to the establishment of an optimal trusting relationship with distributors and gaining customers’ loyalty”, says Sergey Marinov, Member of the Board of Directors.


“We have re-positioned the company on the Bulgarianmarket with a clear identity and a solid path . Sanitex offers at this point of time two product lines: a basic, more economic one called SISI, and a premium range under the Sanitex brand. SISI, in 4-roll packs and made from 100% recycled paper, is the company’s best-selling selling product that caters to consumers’ price requirements and guarantees the company a substantial market share. The Sanitex line of products focuses instead on quality, diversity and is produced from premium recycled paper or virgin pulp. This premium brand is eco-friendly and highly competitive in its range, reaching out to that more demanding market segment looking for an affordable high quality product”, explains Nayden Manev, Member of the Board of Directors.


“Our Board of Directors follows the smallest detail of company operation from one end to another and collects and pursues all productive ideas. This is something that helped in drafting the strategy whose success we have been enjoying for the past 4 years. The company’s rebirth was for us a challenge and an opportunity to introduce our philosophy and winning business model we have in place in other companies. My adventure began in 1996 when I moved here to Bulgaria form Canada. In these years, I have gotten to know the market, observed its evolution and I have come to understand that prompt and dynamic moves are essential in such a fast moving and shifting market”, explains Gharby.


Sanitex paper products assure a total capacity of 1200 tons per month distributed between Jumbo reels and finished products. Great achievements after 2008 have led the company to investin a brand new complete toilet roll and kitchen roll converting and packaging line, with the packaging and bundling part supplied by Fabio Perini Packaging S.p.A. with the Casmatic model CMW 425 and S15.

Today, Sanitex offers the market toilet rolls from recycled paper and pure cellulose. This new investment has opened up the opportunity to gain a new market share not only by improving the quality of its finished products but also through the introduction of new lines of products in toilet and kitchen rolls. The new Aroma colored embossing line was born in July 2012. A combination of colors and designs allows Sanitex to transmit a new look on the shelf.

“Our strategy aims at acquiring and maintaining a leadership position and this is being achieved through our investments in technology, new products and ideas that will guarantee our winning choice. The launch ofnew products is yielding new market shares for us and is helping us solidify our presence in the main retail chains in the country. We will dedicate ourselves to the production of rolls and no longer focus on the saleof reels,” underscores Michael.

Diversifying their market presence increases the company’s flexibility. In Bulgaria, table napkin consumptionis highly diffused and this product is popularly used as a multipurpose tissue. The table napkin line represents 15% of Sanitex’s turnover. April 2011 was the turning point in napkin production for the company with the istallation of their first complete napkin converting line, which was followed by a second identical line in May 2012. This investment allowed the launch of a new brand and greatly enhanced their image and market share in table napkins that was almost non-existent before 2008. Currently, Sanitex has reached the position of a key player in the production of table napkins in Bulgaria”.


“Sanitex’s main assets are understanding, meeting and exceeding the needs of the customers through quality products at a competitive price. Our corporate identity was built on human values, business ethics and mutual trust. Sanitex is flexible and innovative, determined and aggressive, committed andreliable. We do believe in optimization, in solid and steady growth. And we strongly believe that this is onlythe beginning of a promising future for Sanitex and look forward to the numerous challenges in the years tocome”, concludes the president.

Sanitex follows and even anticipates market needs consistently, with passion. It is a small industrial reality, determined and tenacious that has grown in the field by leading an honest, transparent policy where teamwork and group spirit together with entrepreneurial courage make it intent on being an active part ofthe market by conquering new shares. •

  • An image of Sanitex's new production site
  • An image of Sanitex's new production site
  • Casmatic CMW 425 wrapper and S15 bundler
  • President Walid Gharby
  • The new kitchen towel
  • The new range of toilet rolls
  • The new range of toilet rolls
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