Thursday, 14 December 2017 | News today: 14

“Johnson Matthey” Director: Our business success is a benchmark for both the Group and customers

 "Johnson Matthey" - the company which increased Macedonian GDP by exporting catalysts

There is a lack of skills in some areas such as automation and chemical engineering. And we addressed this by hiring people from similar discipline and then giving them extensive internal and external trainings to learn the skills required for our operations. So far this has worked very well and we are very pleased with contribution of our Macedonian employees. All our customers and visitors generally praise our team on the dedication, commitment, keenness and knowledge, says Jatin Thakrar, Managing Director of “Johnson Matthey” plant in Macedonia.

What was crucial for you to decide to invest in Macedonia? 

THAKRAR: During 2006 we were planning for additional capacity in our European Region. At that time various countries were looked at and Macedonia was also considered. Findings from our initial investigations and the positive responses from the Macedonian Government Agencies were considered in the decision to invest. A close proximity of the TIDZ to Skopje and the Airport with the availability of a large plot of land in the Industrial Zone were some of the key factors in the decision. Viktor Mizo, Invest Macedonia and other agencies satisfactorily addressed all our questions.

Ekonomija114-Dzatin-Tharkar-3

How many people are employed within your company and do you plan to increase that number?

THAKRAR:  Currently we employ 550 people and expect to hire more people as we ramp up activity from the second investment.

 Is there enough qualified factory workforce in Macedonia?

THAKRAR: There is a lack of skills in some areas such as automation and chemical engineering.  And we addressed this by hiring people from similar discipline and then giving them extensive internal and external trainings to learn the skills required for our operations. So far this has worked very well and we are very pleased with contribution of our Macedonian employees. All our customers and visitors generally praise our team on the dedication, commitment, keenness and knowledge.

Ekonomija114-Dzatin-Tharkar-2

 Are you satisfied with the operating conditions Macedonia has to offer?

THAKRAR: So far we are pleased with operating conditions in Macedonia. We have highly successful business which is seen as benchmark within our Group and also by our customers. This is a great achievement for all involved in the Investment including our employees and an ongoing support of the Government Agencies. However there are areas for improvement especially on procedural requirements in several areas which could be simplified to make the business climate even better.

 How did you manage to overcome the economic crisis?

THAKRAR: The economic crisis back in 2008 also affected our business and this is the time we had started our investment in Macedonia. Despite slowdown in our business, JM continued with the Investment. Our business is dependent on vehicle sales in Europe and as you know this had contracted during the crisis. However actions of many governments in Europe and the growth in Asia revived the car sales and as a result we were able to recover quickly.

Are you planning on expanding the investment?

THAKRAR: We took a decision to expand our facility in 2011, with introduction of New Euro 6 Emission Legislation in E.U. coming into effect from 2014. The investment comprises of two additional lines and expansion in other areas. This is completed and operational, we are ramping up according to growing sales. We expect to be at full capacity by 2017.

Ekonomija114-Dzatin-Tharkar-1

You have practically revived Macedonian economy, considering that most of Macedonia’s export is precisely from Bunardzik factories. What do these parameters and Macedonia’s GDP growth, which is among highest growth rates in Europe, mean to you? 

THAKRAR: This is a good sign for Macedonia in terms of export lead growth and I believe it would be good for the economy. I expect the exports to grow at good pace with influx of new FDI over the coming years and also make a sizable contribution to GDP. When we compare the Key economic indicators with many countries in Europe with sluggish growth and sovereign debt, Macedonia is doing much better.

What are your future plans?

THAKRAR: In the short term our plan is to maximize the capacity and ensure that the expansion is just as big success as the first investment. We will closely monitor growth in sales and if there is a need for any further expansion.

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________

By: Aleksandrija Stevkovska

Photo: Gjorgi Licovski