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Neil Smith, Ukraine entrepreneur, is a successful businessman who has enjoyed continued prosperity across multiple financial and export industries.
Demonstrating a rare sense for good investments, Neil Smith, Ukraine businessman, has his hand in multiple businesses and industries. Across his diversified portfolio, over $700 million is turned over annually by his many company holdings. These companies include hedge funds, financial advisory companies, raw goods and material production, and one of the largest producers and distributors of vodka in the world. One of his largest individual investments is Crimean Vodka Company (KVK), which is a major subsidiary of the Eastern Beverage Company. The company owns and operates a major plant in the city of Simferopol where the company employs modern filtration and production techniques to create some of the finest vodka in the world. Every year, the company produces and distributes nearly 100 million liters of vodka.
KVK attributes much of its success to its use of a cutting-edge filtration process. In addition to the standard filtration seen in most plants, KVK also adds to one of its products a “milk filtration” that gives the vodka an exceptionally clear taste. Other varieties also go through honey filtration for flavor.
According to Neil Smith, Ukraine has recently recognized the achievements of KVK. They currently hold the top spot for the import/export of vodka in the Ukraine, and the recognition was awarded by the Ministry of Agricultural Policy and Food. Much like Andrew Carnegie of the previous century, Mr. Smith is a businessman who understands the supply chain, and therefore the benefits of vertical integration. For this reason he has begun looking closely at increasing his agricultural holdings and plans to build a substantial glass bottle factory.
Starting his path as a multitalented business leader in the Former Soviet Union in 2004, Neil Smith, Ukraine import and export maven, has enjoyed tremendous success across a wide swath of industries and fields. His first position as a leader was with Morley Fund Management, where he was the head of “Alternative Investments.” It was a field where he could hone his skills when it came to finding unique investment opportunities. He learned how to properly allocate and distribute funds, and as a result managed to vastly expand Morley’s holdings and exposure. While he was with the company, he managed $6 billion of clients’ equity with $30 billion of gross exposure.
An entrepreneur at heart, he pursued his own real estate and investment portfolio while working with Morley Fund Management. His real estate portfolio alone grew to be worth almost $300 million, and he re-invested the equity into credit-linked financial packages. From 2004-2007 he stuck with this model, reaping the rewards of his creative investments and constantly re-investing his returns. This model for growth and expansion read like a page out of an investment textbook: major names like Warren Buffet and Peter Lynch followed similar paths. According to Neil Smith, Ukraine and Eastern Europe can be a place where dedicated entrepreneurs can thrive, so long as they’re willing to adapt.
2008 proved to be a test of Neil Smith’s own adaptability. While the global economic collapse was tied ultimately to U.S. housing speculation and credit obligation swapping, there were factors in Europe that made it susceptible to the crash as well. Just as in the U.S., huge amounts of money simply disappeared overnight. While many businesses and entrepreneurs across the continent panicked, Mr. Smith had the rare sense to recognize an opportunity.
While other investors were busy selling everything they had in a desperate attempt to recoup losses, Mr. Smith was instead buying new assets at dramatically reduced prices. He disbanded his fund, and utilized his credit assets to reach out to Russian businesses. Many of them were financially strained from the crash, and since he was their creditor, he could acquire these businesses for little cost. It required a combination of bold risk-taking and deft analysis to identify the businesses which had the highest likelihood of returning to profitability in the coming years. Trained to have an eye for such investments through his years with Morley, he and his team struck gold on nearly every one. As of today, he has managed to guide these businesses back to profitability.
Of these businesses, one of the most successful has been his stake in Crimean Vodka Company, also known as KVK. As a subsidiary of the Eastern Beverage Company, it is the third largest producer of vodka in the Ukraine. Through its own massive production plant in Simferopol, it produces 60 million liters of their own brand of vodka. According to Neil Smith, Ukraine’s vodka market is among the largest and most profitable when all import and export business is taken into account.
Part of the success that the KVK has enjoyed is through their implementation of cutting edge filtration and processing techniques for their premium vodka. All vodka production plants have some form of filtration, but in order to make KVK’s the finest and smoothest, Neil Smith, Ukraine businessman, supported the addition of modern and innovative practices. Among this is the increasingly popular “milk filtration” which gives the vodka an extra polish that consumers love. A honey filtration is also a newer practice that can add flavor to the vodka,
making it even more pleasing. Not all companies pursue these practices, but Mr. Smith’s holdings strive only for the best.
In addition to the stringent filtration practices, KVK’s quality control measures are among the best in the world. Bottles and supplies are sent through a strict evaluation to ensure that the beverages are nothing short of perfect. This may strike some as being overly-involved, but it ensures that the vodka is comfortably among the best in the world. According to Neil Smith, Ukraine has a strict sense of what’s good and what’s not when it comes to their vodka, and anything short of extraordinary will be scorned by the public.
2011 was an important year for the Crimean Vodka Company. The Ministry of Agricultural Policy and Food recognized KVK as the largest exporter and in its category in the Ukraine—a huge achievement by Neil Smith’s Ukraine-based management team. This takes a significant place out of the many awards that have been showered on KVK over the past two years, proof of Neil Smith’s dedication to detail and providing premium products. KVK had won gold medals at the Prodexpo International Exhibition, the Lenexpo International Tasting Competition, and the United Vodka Exhibition. The UK’s Financial Times also recognized KVK’s birch bud vodka, Brunki, as the best in a taste test carried out by the newspaper in September of last year.
Since starting his career as a high-powered business leader with an alternative investment fund, Mr. Smith has demonstrated continued investment excellence. Recovering like few could from the devastating market crash, he has led multiple companies to incredible prosperity, including one of Ukraine’s largest exporters. Following the same career path as many of history’s most successful businessmen and investors, he worked from the ground up with intelligent acquisitions and moves. According to Neil Smith, Ukraine is a place where anyone with the right instincts can shine.
Having already demonstrated incredible business acumen and a sense for strong investments over a 10-year period, there’s no telling where Neil Smith, Ukraine’s premier vodka magnate, will go next. He’s shown the ability to navigate any investment climate, and in fact demonstrated the ability to thrive in a falling one. His skills when it comes to long-term planning and adaptability will help him expand his holding and his notoriety even further.
The crown jewel of his investment portfolio, Crimean Vodka Company, will continue to drive his overall success. The company has grown extensively since his major acquisition in 2011.Under his guidance, it has grown into the largest exporter in its category in Ukraine. According to Neil Smith, Ukraine’s demand for vodka will remain strong, fueling continued growth for the acclaimed company. Mr. Smith also aims to continue encouraging new filtration practices, ensuring the product remains of the highest quality and edges out the competition.
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