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Juvinum: weathering the storm

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“To put it mildly, it was a disaster,” says Carl-Viggo Östlund, co-owner of Juvinum, referring to the COVID-19 crisis that hit the hospitality sector in 2020. “Sales went down to almost zero for about 4-5 months, picked up a bit in the summer and then stopped again completely for 4-5 months. 2020 sales were less than half of a normal year, and 2021 was only marginally better.”

Juvinum, based in Stockholm, is a family-run business that Carl-Viggo and his wife Caroline acquired from her parents. The business is active in the wholesale of cooking wines, with clientele mainly in the Nordics and the UK. The cooking wine, from Extremadura, Spain, is produced by lowering the alcohol volume in a full-strength wine, but still keeping all the aromas, and then adding a bit of salt and pepper. A process that makes it a high-quality cooking product or condiment rather than a wine, which carries a much higher taxation. “This means huge savings for the HORECA sector (hotels, restaurants and catering)”, he adds, describing the niche area in which they operate.

The COVID-19 pandemic did the business no favours, as the HORECA industry - especially in the UK – was severely hit. “Normally we’d ship around 130 containers per year, but in 2020 we shipped only 58.” Today, partly as a COVID-19 effect, they are also experiencing great transport disruptions such as problems with finding containers, trucks, a lot of delays but also extra surcharges for various things and much higher transport costs in general. 

“For the last two years, I’ve been working with two different liquidity plans,” explains Caroline. “Two different excel sheets, running parallel scenarios with different assumptions depending on the degree of difficulties we can expect to face. I only came back to one single sheet around two weeks ago, and now it’s the first time that it feels like we’re almost back to normal.”

In weathering the storm, Caroline and Carl-Viggo were clear that they didn’t want to lay off their two employees in the UK. They tried to adjust by keeping costs low and re-negotiating payment terms with suppliers and sought financial support in the form of a loan through DBT, guaranteed by the EIF under the pan-European Guarantee Fund. The loan gave the business the necessary cashflow to keep making their payments and make it to better days. “We’re now back to pre-pandemic levels. But we’re aware that things could turn at any moment. There’s always something. This is part of doing business. But we are still here,” Carl-Viggo says.

Location: Stockholm, Sweden

Financial Intermediary: DBT

SME: Juvinum Food & Beverage AB (Sweden)

Sector: wholesale; food

Number of employees: 4

Financing purpose: cashflow

EU financing: EGF

For further information about EIF intermediaries in Sweden, please refer to: http://www.eif.org/what_we_do/where/se/index.htm

Note: Following the recent withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union, we are updating the relevant EIF.org pages.

 
 

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