Gevorg Avetisyan

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Gevorg Avetisyan has founded a company producing honey cakes in North Moravia.

Miko International, an Armenian family company producing honey cakes in North Moravia, said today it plans multi-million investments in production and hiring owing to high demand.

Gevorg Avetisyan, who founded the company three years ago, told CTK today the company would start three-shift operation next week.

Miko, employing 64 people formerly registered at the Frydek- Mistek employment office, is looking for a bigger production facility now.

Gevorg Avetisyan said the company could not satisfy the demand for cakes made according to an old Armenian recipe.

"Interest is incredible, we already sell to seven countries in Europe," he said. Besides the Czech Republic, Miko sells cakes toAustria, Britain, Germany, Hungary, Italy and Switzerland.

Sales directorDavid Grochol said markets overseas had also expressed interest.

Gevorg Avetisyan's sister Hasmik, the owner of the company, started to make the so-called Marlenka cakes.

Avetisyan is a university graduate who majored in architecture. His sister studied philology.

In the first six months of this year 2005, honey-cake sales brought in Kc11.4 million, beating the amount for the full year of 2004 by more than half.

The company moved from a small, leased facility to a former kitchen of an old people's home, which it bought from the town and modernized it. But even its 1,000 square meters are not enough. "After two months, we found out we need about 3,000 square metres. Either we will build something new, or we will rebuild an existing building," said Avetisyan.

Avetisyan said he was planning to buy a production line and to abandon manual production. The investment will reach about Kc50 million in total.

Miko has obtained a trademark and three certificates from a hygiene lab, as well as a certificate proving the product complies with EU standards. But it has also registered the first attempt at a forged honey cake.

"About two months ago, a product called Marenka, made by a North Moravian company, appeared on the market. Our clients could easily make a mistake, so we will try to reach an agreement with the producer," said Grochol.

"If it does not help, we will defend ourselves using all means available," he added. Pavel Osina from the Frydek-Mistek town hall said the town was trying to help the Armenian business.

"We have sold them one building for quite a good price. The industrial parks will probably be full, but we could offer them some place in the former army barracks," he added.

Jarmila Krpcova from the Frydek-Mistek employment office said she would welcome more companies such as Miko International

"They hire not only trained confectioners. We have cooks and women without an education who can do this job," she told CTK. The unemployment rate in Frydek Mistek reaches some 13 percent against the national average of 8.8 percent.