On the way to the Refres Now plant, in Virrey del Pino, La Matanza district, all the signs on Route 3 show a single brand of soda: Manaos. At kilometer 42 there is a 140,000 square meter plant that houses 550 employees. Its owner Orlando Canido, no longer goes every day. Since the pandemic began, he has been confined in his ranch near La Plata and only goes once a month. But it does not reste proposed in 2021 to export his brand to the world and evaluates the opening of more plants and will launch another brand of soda.
16 years ago, when Canido started the company, there were 43 soda factories and 200 brands in the country; today there are only seven plants left. I have no hesitation in turning an abandoned chicken farm into the world’s number one technology plant and the leader in production in America, as he repeats.
In the plant there is no rest, it works in three shifts, Every day, 24 hours. It has 15 production lines with a capacity that allows it to make 40,000 bottles per hour on each line.
From his office, in front of a large window that shows the entire plant, Orlando Canido counted to BAE Business: “We grew up in the pandemic, we did well, we dispatch more than 500,000 pallets per day. Manaus is the number one soft drink in sales per liter in the country. Within two years of starting, I already passed Pepsi. At age 10 it was the number one selling Argentine soda. I am the last to set up a soda factory in Argentina ”.
Netflix offered to film the life of the owner of Manaus
The owner of Manaus tells that they stop him on the street to take photos. But now, with the pandemic, people are very careful and risky. A few years ago they detected eight tumors around the heart, three in the lung, five in the liver and two in the brain. “They gave me three months to live, I spent them all. Coca Cola accused me of evading and I had 14 raids on the same day in the company, in my house, in that of family and friends. In December 2019, they said I had 10 batches of soda with a bad taste, it was a fatal blow, I had them analyzed abroad and they found nothing. So Netflix offered me to do a series with my life, but I’m not going to do it, I don’t want anyone to say things that are not, « he confided.
He is passionate about his brand, that’s why he entrusts BAE Business: “Selling is a war, and I have fought many battles. When you step on the keys to a great one at some point they jump, it is logical that they will turn you over, when you cross the line of what is allowed. As I already said, if I did not exist, you can imagine how much a liter of soda would be worth, I throw the price down with the same quality of the one that charges more expensive. I’m already thinking what stick they are going to put me in the wheel this year« , He said.
« I’m already thinking what stick they will put me in the wheel this year »
He has many plans, export will be one of his focuses in 2021. “We export to Puerto Rico, Panama, Uruguay, we are looking to enter Bolivia and next week we disembark with Manaus and Pindapoy in Paraguay. It is not easy. I do not have a sales team for abroad, I have 70 people but for local sales. I am going to need another plant to supply the Paraguayan market. I don’t know if I will open it in Paraguay or if I will install it in Formosa or Santiago del Estero, I have not decided. We have to see what happens with the pandemic, I need to go at a safe pace, ”explained Orlando Canido.
Manaus evaluates two provinces to open a plant
The desire to take Manaus to other markets is such that Canido has already looked at the yellow-green giant. « I want to take Manaus to Brazil, from the name and the product I am sure it will work well. But it is a very nationalistic country, If I want to sell I have to put the plant there. You have to be willing, do it with will, I would do it because the business takes me, because I have the need to expand, « he said.
Although he knows that it is a difficult time to make decisions of such magnitude, he does not rule it out and he has his reasons: “I have the support of all my suppliers who want me to open a plant in Brazil, actually they want me to open plants throughout the country. I am the best client my suppliers have in Argentina because I pay in cash or in advance. They know that it is better to deal with the owner than with a manager of a multinational company who is here today and tomorrow you don’t know. squeezes you, sets the conditions and extorts you”.
New brand of soft drinks
Its brand portfolio is made up of soft drinks, sodas, waters, flavored waters and juices with the brands Manaos, Placer, Pindapoy, Villamanaos, La Bichy Now, F-Nandito VII and Sano Corazón Argentino. But Orlando Canido goes for more: “I’m about to launch a soda brand for the south of the country, a new brand that helps me grow in penetration ”. As he always repeats, you have to be ready to fight more.
Manaus will go on the market with a new brand of soft drink