Nawaf Salameh established the Alexandrion group more than 25 years ago, as a family business that has gradually developed both locally and internationally.
His entrepreneurial spirit came from his family, as his father was a medicine distributor and the owner of a pharmacy chain in Syria. He wanted to become a film director, but at his mother’s urging, he came to Romania and enrolled in medical school.
He started doing business in Greece, where he chose to do his medical residency. First he sold sweets, and then took over a small distillery in Crete.
“I became a businessman in Greece, but the place where I had grown up since I was 17 was Romania. I couldn’t choose another country,” says the businessman. He later managed to run his business just like it were a film set.
Every new product, every purchase had to have history behind it, promote a vision, convey an emotion. Now, years later, Nawaf Salameh believes that his dream of being a director did come true in a way. Alexandrion Group has production unit in Romania, in Ploiești, Prahova county, as well as offices and branches in Cyprus, Brazil, Greece, and the US.
The plans for business development in Romania are huge, as the entrepreneur wants to invest EUR 200 million over the next 10 years.
A new business line
In the spring of 2018, Alexandrion Group, the largest spirits producer in Romania, announced that it would take over the Halewood group’s Romanian wine portfolio.
“Alexandrion Group will become one of the most powerful and competitive players on the Romanian market through this acquisition. We are a company with tradition, which invests in Romania and pays close attention to its customers’ needs and requirements. We are very selective with the businesses we include in our portfolio and we trust that this decision will be to our customers’ liking,” Nawaf Salameh, the president and founder of Alexandrion Group, stated at the time.
Last April, the group announced that it had united the six companies acquired in 2018 by taking over Halewood Wines and Spirits Romania under the name The Iconic Estate. The new entity owns production and storage facilities, bottling lines for regular and sparkling wines, a temperature-controlled warehouse, and underground cellars. The winery in Tohani, Gura Vadului, is one of the largest cellars in the Dealu Mare region, with a processing capacity of 5,000 tonnes of grapes per year, producing approximately 3.6 million liters or 5 million bottles per year.
Every year, the wines have won awards in various international competitions, the most notable being the first gold medal for a Romanian producer, for the 1999 Prahova Valley Special Reserve Pinot Noir, at the Concours Mondial de Bruxelles in 2002. As the owner of over 255 ha of vineyards in one of the most fertile wine regions in Romania – Dealu Mare – The Iconic Estate sells its wines in more than 40 countries worldwide and has become the largest exporter of bottled wines in Romania, with about 40% of its annual production being sold abroad.
The Rhein & CIE Azuga cellars, part of The Iconic Estate, represent the oldest places where sparkling wine has been produced continuously since their establishment in 1892, using the traditional Champenoise method.
Nawaf Salameh also runs the Alexandrion Foundation, established in 2003, as a result of the numerous humanitarian activities carried out by the companies within the Alexandrion Group. Over time, the Alexandrion Foundation has made its mark by supporting performance in Romanian sports, as well as in supporting and promoting culture. The Alexandrion Trophies Gala has reached its fifth edition, while the Constantin Brâncoveanu Gala has crossed the country’s borders.