When Àngel Jubete (1960) had the opportunity to buy Virginias, a historic brand of nougat, biscuits and chocolates, he did not think twice. Being a nougat maker had always been his dream. Jubete was born in Agramunt, the paradise of this Christmas sweet, and had experience in the business world. For years, he had been the owner of two industrial gardening and phytosanitary companies –Flower and Tecnologías Verdes Aplicadas– and also of the construction and real estate firm Servideu. But he was missing the nougat. In the past, Jubete had been one of the promoters of the Fira del Torró and the Xocolata a la Pedra and wanted to become one of the leading figures in the industry.
So when Virginias submitted a tender in 2018, Jubete moved all the gears to fulfill his dream and convince the judge that his offer was the best to revive the company, founded in Reus in 1932 by the Rodríguez family. And he achieved his goal. He created the company Acrimont Foods and took control of the brand, the production of its nougats and chocolates, while the Sevillian firm Risi (with whom Jubete closed an agreement beforehand) kept the sweets and cookies. Together, they paid $5.1 million and saved 40 jobs.
Four years later, Jubete finally celebrates the rebirth of Virginias. And he says "finally" because Acrimont had to overcome a first year of disappearance of the supermarket brand (due to the procedures of the bankruptcy process) and two long years of pandemic and negotiation with distributors. The 2022-2023 financial year (the firm closes accounts in September) will bring good news. “We expect to bill 10 million, compared to 4.8 million the previous year. We have launched the full range of nougats and have introduced the first chocolates. We have 380 references”, celebrates the businessman, who during these years has also opened nine of his own stores, in Agramunt, Reus, Cambrils, Barcelona (4) and Madrid (2).
Virginias is the great illusion of Jubete, who plans to take the brand abroad, with openings in Brussels, Geneva and Dubai through franchise partners. “I believe in the potential of this brand. I am going to invest 2.5 million in expanding production capacity with a new factory on the outskirts of Reus. We will move in 2024 and we will leave the historic plant in the center of the city, which these years we are renting from the former owners”. Jubete exudes boundless energy despite being close to the end of his business career. “I have created the JBT holding company to group my four companies. In total, it bills about 25 million and employs about 160 people. With this structure, I delegate the day to day to trusted people and I also want to facilitate the handover of the business to my two children. I want to have everything ready. But I still have projects in mind. In the coming months, I want to invest 2.5 million in buying a waste management company in Barcelona”.
The concern for the business world comes to him as a child. The son of a hairdresser and a housewife, he remembers how at the age of 12 he would go out into the streets to resell the comics that he no longer wanted. As a young man, he tried various jobs at his father's hair salon, which he did not like, and also in bars and restaurants. He obtained the title of commercial expert and at the age of 21 he launched into the world of industrial companies. This is his great passion, even during free time. “I am from the old school, the one of effort and delivery. I never disconnect, and the new generations don't understand that, what can we do…”. In the past, Jubete played sports, but now, with age, he has stopped. However, he has become a fan of the roller hockey Reus Deportiu, which Virginias has sponsored since 2021. “For me, it is a pride to represent this sport so deeply rooted in this town. When I bought Virginias they warned me to be careful, that it was a brand very dear to the local people, and the truth is that today I feel very welcome. In the future, I hope to push this brand much further."