Friday, 15 December 2017 | News today: 7

Mukaetov: Good deeds are always spoken well of

When a Macedonian company becomes a successful story, comes a time when parts of that story are told abroad as well. With stable business at home, the urge to go abroad comes instinctively

He is one of those Macedonians, who are regularly on the list of successful businessmen in the country. Stable, steady, original – that is Zivko Mukaetov, Alkaloid’s first man and President of the company’s Managing Board. He started his career at “Alkaloid” when he was 25 years old. Today he says that was a start under pressure. Going stair after stair, he comes on the executive function at the age of 32, when Alkaloid’s overall sale totaled a little bit more that EUR 57 million. He has been at the head of the company for seven years now, and the largest Macedonian drug company is rounding off 2013 with overall sale of over EUR 100 million. In the past 13 years, more than EUR 100 million have been invested  in manufacturing capacities, technologies, staff and knowledge, which is the main reason that Alkaloid’s products can be compared with world brands.

To what do we owe Alkaloid’s positive image in the public? I personally do no remember any single affair related to the company. I am positively sure that most of the people not even for a moment think about Alkaloid when the so-called oligarchy and transitions are mentioned in negative context. How did you manage Alkaloid to be regarded as Macedonian pride? 

Mukaetov: The positive image of working in Alkaloid, firstly, is owned to the quality of the products, the employees, the brand “Alkaloid” respectively and the individual brands that we have, built with years of Macedonian generations. The company, which is sixth drug company in Southeastern Europe, has 17 offices and one manufacturing capacity outside Macedonia, placing over 60 % of its production in more that 30 countries worldwide. The continuous business success and maintaining development of the company are direct result of the contribution of the whole team of employees, who strive towards constant improvement and who tirelessly promote the company’s values, its integrity and professional access. That is why, one of Alkaloid’s top priorities are investments in the staff, their proper training and additional education, aiming towards enhancing the business processes, managing with the constant changes and work activities, technological advancement, motivation, personal progress, career advancement etc.

During the entire work, we are totally dedicated to completion of the projected goals and we are consistent with our corporative vision and mission, always taking care of respecting all laws, standards and provisions in all countries where we operate, so that is probably the reason for not mentioning Alkaloid in any kind of negative connotation.

 You are considered as company that takes care of its employees.

Mukaetov: Taking care of the employees and the contribution which we, as a company can give in the filed of social responsibility, is our top priority. Even in times of crises, we stayed consistent to these principles, contributing as much as we could to the advancement of the community in which we operate, including projects from the fields like health care, culture, sports, science, art, the needs of the young…Simply, we stand and will stand behind everything that is Macedonia’s best. As people say, good deeds are always spoken well of.

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You are one of the rare public persons about who not many would find any flaw. To what do we owe the fact that most of the citizens, even in times when everybody makes remarks on everybody here in Macedonia, when vanities are too high, when the positive really has huge problems in defeating the negative?

Mukaetov: Vanity and pride are totally unknown to me and I consider myself as a very simple and common man. I have never been interested in remarks in regard to the others nor in the gossips about me. But if you say that most of the citizens respect me, thank you, I is a real pleasure to hear that and I will make efforts to stay as I am now.

To what do we owe such mentality, to always stress the black before the white: in the historic conditions in which we live, in the history in which we have been growing as a nation and a state, or maybe, modern trends make us as such?

Mukaetov: I am a businessman that sees things from the positive, i.e. the ‘white’ side. As a manager of a company that over a decade has been perfectly operating on the markets of three continents, the situations of me having problems because I come from a developing country, not member of the Euro-Atlantic structures are very rare. The fact is that they do not know you there, you need space to build credibility, but as time passes by, the quality work surfaces. Generally, business is led according to the modern trends, and in any case, the ‘black’ should not be stressed, but it is good to be careful and real in the projections.

Recently you were presented with “Humanist of the Year” Award – one of the many on this field. People that follow the trends in the sphere of donating and human activism say that you are a businessman, who with Alkaloid’s support has helped Macedonian citizens the most. To what do we owe your commitment to help people in trouble?

Mukaetov: This year I was presented with two awards, which are especially dear to me. One is the “Mother Theresa” Award for accomplishment in the field of humanity and solidarity, while the other one is Golden Medal from the Red Cross of the Republic of Macedonia as a recognition for contribution to the organization’s social programmes, aimed at helping the most vulnerable category of citizens.

I must stress that it is my honor and pleasure to be awarded with these high recognitions, as well as a motivation for further activities, which would be  related to the values that are especially appreciated within the people, humanity, solidarity and mutual understanding. These are values with which I have been growing up and which I try to convey to my children from an early age. I donated the money that went along with the “Mother Theresa” Award to the Center for rehabilitation of children and youth “St. Kliment Ohridski” in Skopje.

These two prestigious recognitions are another motivation to keep going on with my human mission – I as individual, and my family and company that I lead as well. Helping people in need will not make anyone poorer. It will only make us richer with a beautiful experience, and that is the realization that you have done a good deed.

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You also help in sports, to the Handball Federation, respectively, where you are the first man, for the first time after your selection all the affairs have stopped, there are no alleged fights in the representation, Kiril Lazarov does not have to appeal for better conditions for the national team, there are no speculations about irregular matches, selling tickets about the representation’s performances, malversations. Did you convey the business rules also in the Handball Federation of Macedonia or the formula about the operating of the representation and the handball leagues is different?

Mukaetov: Every beginning is hard and every change is hard to accept. But, with an honest and sincere approach one can achieve their desired results. HFM’S main goal as a national federation is developing this sport on state’s level. Since taking over this responsible function, I and my team engaged ourselves in placing firm basis for better future and much better results of this sport in Macedonia. We are operating totally dedicated, with staff focused on general improvement of the handball situation, which should bring the desired results in the long term.

These last nine months of the mandate of the new management were devoted to systematization and providing of all necessary pre-conditions for freely functioning of the sport, with the optimal resources that we have at our disposal. What I want, as the case with the work at Alkaloid, is discipline and hard work, because I would not know nor could function differently.

It is one thing to be part of the audience and enjoy the game, but it is much harder on the other side, because all pieces of the puzzle should be placed where they belong. But, at the end of the day, everybody’s goal is the same: development of the handball and better results. I came at this position in a rather inconvenient moment for our representation, we faced many challenges and gave our utmost efforts in order for this sport to operate worldwide, exactly like its potential.

 

Taking care of the employees and the contribution which we, as a company can give in the filed of social responsibility, is our top priority. Even in times of crises, we stayed consistent to these principles, contributing as much as we could to the advancement of the community in which we operate, including projects from the fields like health care, culture, ports, science, art, the needs of the young…Simply, we stand and will stand behind everything that is Macedonia’s best.

I suppose that, there are no emotions in business, the battle for stabilization of the company does not allow stoppage even for a moment. What do you do as Alkaloid’s first man, so that the world courses of your branch are being followed. After all, it is a question of a field where just for research on annual level in the world of competition people spend tens of billions euros or denars, or whatever?

Mukaetov: Pharmacy is one of the most dynamic activities. Investments and following the trends should be unstoppable. Provided that, one steps out of some these segments, it can reflect on the competition. Research and development of the products, of course, have a huge role in the entire mosaic, research on new molecules or research conducted on generic medicines after the expiration of the patent protection, respectively. All medicines are subjects of expensive, long and risky research before they are launched on the market, a procedure that lasts around 12 years. According to some data, in 2010, EUR 27,800 have been spent on research and development in Europe, while on global level, the expenditure for medicines is 17 % in regard to the overall health care costs of the patients (the rest fall on the hospital expenses and hospital care).

The process of research and development of molecules is crucial to the formation. In order to enhance this segment of the company, in 2009 Alkaloid founded the Institute for Development and Quality Control, an investment worth over EUR 9 million. Annually, the company invests 3% of the overall incomes in scientific research activities. Such trend was preserved even in the recent years of world economic crisis. Alkaloid’s management, definitely, has vision and hearing when it comes to updating the processes.

70 highly specialized  and trained executives work at the Development Institute, who keep upgrading themselves on the field of the scientific research activity through various trainings and additional education outside Macedonia.

You overcome the problem with the small market in Macedonia  with expansion on foreign markets. For instance, super-brand “Caffetin” has been accepted as one of the most remarkable medicines on around twenty markets. How is the battle for foreign markets operating, especially when it comes to competition with powerful world brands like “Bayer”, “Roche”, “Novartis”, “GlaxoSmithKline”. What is the position, of a small company, lacking support from powerful countries that other companies have, on the foreign markets?

Mukaetov: The fact that Macedonia is a country with 2 million people is concessive and from the aspect of a company, where you have the opportunity to inform each person about your product in a real unity of time. Since we already have these trumps, when a Macedonian company becomes a successful story, comes a time when parts of that story are told abroad as well. With stable business at home, the urge to go abroad comes instinctively.

Alkaloid is a completely export oriented company, placing 60% of its production on foreign markets. Our priorities are the markets in the Southeastern Europe region, where we are ranked as the sixth drug company, the markets in the member states of EU, the markets in Northern America, Russia and the member states of CIS, as well as the states of the Middle East and Far East.

Every market has its own characteristics and it is rather important to approach each market individually. Competition is huge. We are facing with local and regional strong competitors, powerful multinational and generic competitors with huge production portfolios.

In order to be competitive on whichever market, especially in pharmacy, it is necessary to invest in local staff, production portfolio and marketing, and if we as a company in the past 13 years have invested over EUR 100 million in production capacities, technologies, staff and knowledge, our products can be compared with world brands by default. Here I would like to mention that pharmacy products are the most highly regulated category of products in the world and there are many strict regulations in regard to their attestation for placement on markets, which, all companies from all around the world should not violate on no account.

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How much were Alkaloid’s plans affected by the global economic crisis? Do you expect the positive trends on global and European level to expand the limit you are aiming for?

Mukaetov: The good side of the world economic crisis is that it gave us all a lesson on how to run the capital wisely and carefully. Although the consequences from the blow are still present, in regard to the optimal operating, Alkaloid did not make any drastic changes, but a much careful selection about where and on what will the means be directed to. The decision on allocating part of the company’s profit was made by a team of experts from various areas, who work at Alkaloid, and, of course, a special care has been payed to maintaining optimal balance between the growth and the liquidity.

 What is actually, the company’s final goal?

Mukaetov: On global plan, Alkaloid as a drug company is becoming more and more attractive. The company has several advantages, as presence and establishment on various markets in the region, powerful and modern portfolio of products, professional and trained staff and working standards, which are compatible with the strictest world regulations.

We are a fast and flexible company, whose pro-activity is competitive advantage. The intention of Alkaloid’s managerial team is to keep that position of independence at least in the next three to five years.

Through enhancement of our positions in the region, better position on the markets of the states-members of EU, CIS and US, we are constantly open for building new synergies and partnerships, specializing in certain groups of product and general enforcement of the Alkaloid brand abroad.

Globalization is inevitable process. Alkaloid and Macedonia are part of that global system of operating. For the long term, the company’s management sees Alkaloid as part of some huge pharmacy system, conquering new markets with our name.

Alkaloid is a completely export-oriented company, placing 60% of its production on foreign markets. Our priorities are the markets in the Southeastern Europe region, where we are ranked as the sixth drug company, the markets in the member states of EU, the markets in Northern America, Russia and the member states of CIS, as well as the states of the Middle East and Far East.

You are a member of the Managing Board of “Macedonia 2025″. What are the possibilities for this organization comprised of numerous members or “SuperMacedonians”, as informally call you, to place Macedonia as a good destination for leading business on global level?

Mukaetov: “Macedonia 2025″ was founded in 2007 by respectable members of the Macedonian diaspora, led by Mr Mike Zafirovski. When I received the invitation for membership in “Macedonia”2025″, I only had one conclusion: that this organization really has tough and responsible assignment ahead. It will not be easy to achieve the goals, we will face many challenges, but it is important to try, in order to make at least little difference towards better placement of our country in worldwide.

The economic development of the Republic of Macedonia is one of the top priorities of the current agenda of the organization “Macedonia 2025″. What we want to create is a strong supporting wall, which companies will build together, united, without division on small, medium or big, and which will be able to resist the challenges like the latest debt crisis.

These “SuperMacedonians, as you call them, have professionally been established on global level and are absolutely dedicated to helping the Macedonian companies, bringing experts, sharing priceless experiences, a possibility worth to be used.

The main focus of the organization is directed towards promoting the benefits of investing in Macedonia, promoting our products and services, prompting the economic development of the country by promotion of entrepreneurship, innovation and competition. There are definitively many opportunities and potentials in the country that can be used wisely.

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Many people in Macedonia notice that we have the youngest Ministers, that we were led by youngest Prime Ministers. You are one of the younger top managers in the country, how much is your youth helping, and how much is complicating your work?

Mukaetov: I would like refute that youth is an advantage, while old age a handicap and I personally think that the combination of experience and youth is what really matters and what gives the desired prosperity. Talking from personal perspective, I started working since my years as a student. I started my career in Alkaloid when I was 25, and the pressure was huge and I had to be totally focused. Stair after stair in the company’s hierarchy, starting from the lower,going upper in the secrets of managing and meeting the company. I was introduced to the company and its resources. I got the main executive function at the age of 32, when the overall Alkaloid’s sale totaled EUR 57 million. I have been at the head of the company for seven years now, and we are rounding off 2013 with overall sale of around EUR 115 million. The enthusiasm is the same as 15 year ago.

In conditions of huge politicization in all spheres, you count for a man not connecting to any political set or party. Have you ever had the idea for involvement in politics in order to help the country in a different manner than one you are now applying?

Mukaetov: Politics as a profession requires too many sacrifices, especially on personal plan. I have never seen my self on the political side, and that is how it is going to stay. I am happy that I can contribute to the country through the sport, the social activities, especially through the  business. Every Alkaloid’s success, and my personal success, I consider as Macedonia’s success as well.

How do you see Macedonia in 2020? A few months ago I worked on a research including this question. Most of the respondents were divided, half of them see the country as a stable member of EU and NATO in seven years from now, while the other half give dark scenarios for Macedonia’s future. What do you think?

Macedonia’s accession to the Euro-Atlantic structures is a question of trivial pre-condition, which exists for rather long time, but, anyway, waiting in front of the doors of the Euro-Atlantic structures is not pleasant at all. On the other hand, we cannot just sit and wait; to complain about being “cut off from the world” and do nothing. With the membership or without it, according to me, the country’s economic development is what matters. From my personal experience, for many years Alkaloid has been present not just on the regional, but also on the world markets, whose entrance is not so easy, but we made our road ourselves. With good business idea, qualified team and agenda (which not resistible to risks), discouraging factors are just a stone from the road to success.

By: Goran Momiroski

Photo: Aleksandar Ivanovski