Archive for January, 2011
Food sector leader succeeding at home and abroad
Franzeluta, founded in 1947, has more than half a century of experience in producing fi ne baked goods and related products. Transformed into a joint stock company, Franzeluta now operates four manufacturing facilities for baked goods, a macaroni factory, a facility which produces carbonic acid used in food production, and machine shops which handle construction, maintenance and repairs.
Franzeluta also operates a laboratory to ensure high quality and has established its own network of 40 Franzeluta shops and outlets where customers can purchase all types of Franzeluta baked goods as well as order special products.
Export totals growing
Franzeluta is a leader in Moldova’s domestic market and exports its products to the US, Canada, Portugal, Spain, Germany, France, Greece, Holland, Great Britain, Ireland, Romania, Australia and Azerbaijan. In 2007, Franzeluta exported 1,125 tonnes, it’s about MDL 18,794,000.
Eugen Baleca, top manager, points out that Franzeluta specialises in the production of bread and other baked goods, and produces more than 180 tonnes of bread per day. The company’s extensive product portfolio includes a wide range of breads (white, rye, breads with healthful additions, and more), macaroni, cakes, rolls, sooshka and biscuits, wafers, candy and chocolate figures, breakfast cereals, carbonated water and much more.
Franzeluta has added a number of convenience foods (refrigerated dough, pancake mix, fritter mix, dried kvass and others) to satisfy the demands of busy modern households, and also manufactures special seasonal products for holidays.
ISO 9001 certifi cation a guarantee of quality
Commenting on Franzeluta’s long term success story, Eugen Baleca says, “Quality products and advanced technology are what make Franzeluta stand out as a successful and transparent state-owned company. We have been certifi ed by the international quality system ISO 9001, which proves that our production facilities and methods meet international standards. In addition,
we have implemented cutting-edge European equipment and technologies, including Bossano, Buhler and Dominioni equipment for our macaroni factory; Union equipment for our carbonic acid manufacturing; Zamboni packaging; and BN-25, BN-50, Gostol, Bongard and Riello professional ovens.”
Wide range of production facilities
The company’s production facilities include Bakery One, founded in 1947 and expanded over the years. Today it operates
seven production lines with a total capacity of 118 tonnes per day. Bakery Two, commissioned in 1973, has been expanded to
reach its current capacity of 135 tonnes per day and operates six cutting-edge production lines; it also excels at small batch production of specialised goods.
Innovative telecom operator honored for quality and performance
Moldcell has brought state-of-the-art cellular telecom services to Moldova and demonstrates the potential of the country’s telecom sector. Moldcell has been operating since 2000 and has been responsible for a number of “firsts” in the Moldovan market, including the fi rsts: SMS service, roaming through Moldcell’s pre-paid ALOCARD with per-second rates, WAP/Internet access, GPRS and EDGE based services, and the fi rst 3G services such as: Video call, Mobile Internet, Mobile TV. “First” status of Moldcell is recognised for its round-the clock customer care service as well as for its CSR piloting in Moldova.
Yusuf Baykan, general manager, explains Moldcell’s success story. “We attribute our achievement basically to the support, knowledge, and expertise of our shareholder group. By following market trends, bringing new technologies and knowing to educate, manage and trust local team and market, we have earned a leading market position,” he says.
Strong backing from TeliaSonera
The mobile operator MOLDCELL is a part of an international group, the control packet of which belongs to one of the most progressive mobile telecommunication groups in the world – the Swedish-Finnish company TeliaSonera, who has a leading position in the Nordic and Baltic region, Spain and with strong positions within mobile communications in Eurasia, including Turkey and Russia. In 2007, the number of subscriptions reached approximately 115 million in the majority-owned operations and associated companies, operating income, excluding non-recurring items, was SEK 27.5 billion and the number of employees 31,292. TeliaSonera is listed on the Stockholm Stock Exchange and the Helsinki Stock Exchange.
Building on the strong backing of TeliaSonera and its in-depth knowledge concerning emerging markets, Moldcell has grown in eight years to become the leading mobile operator in terms of advanced communication solutions and is ranked third among the most recognised local brands in the country, (according to the “Top Brands Moldova 2007-2008” publication).
In 2007, Moldcell achieved a net income of 13 million, an impressive increase of 167% over 2006. Its sales volume also grew, by 25%, to reach 41.4 million. The company’s equity now totals 33.16 million. Moldcell has invested around 86.34 million in its operations to date and plans continued investments in the future to maintain its competitive edge.
Advanced technologies and highly qualified staff
Commenting on the very good year Moldcell had in 2007, Yusuf Baykan explains, “Our outstanding performance last year was made possible by following our strategy focused on offering to the market the newest technologies and the most advanced communication solutions available on the developed markets. Moldcell was the first operator who brought to Moldova rapid data transfer, having implemented GPRS technology in 2004 (the actual coverage of which reached 96% of the territory and population) and EDGE technology in June 2005. The company invested in advance in the creation of a 3G network, thus on October 1st of this year launched commercially 3G services for its clients, confirming its status of Moldovan technological leader. The 3G services commercial launch was made practical in 3 weeks after the license receipt and is considered to be one of the fastest in the world. The operator came from the start with one of the newest versions of 3G standard, and namely, 3.5G (HSDPA up to 7.2 Mbps)
Along with the launch of the third-generation services, Moldcell clients, as well as the entire Moldova, join the modern European informational community. Innovative approach is used in offering voice and data services. Currently, Moldcell clients can enjoy more than 70 services available on the market. Praising his staff, he adds, “Our high-tech infrastructure and equipment
set us apart from our competitors, but our highly qualifi ed human resources also give us an edge in the market.”
Moldcell’s achievements were honored in February, 2008 when it won three national awards: for quality standards, taxpayer performance, an brand recognition. Moldcell was theonly telecommunications company in Moldova to achieve such recognition and one of only three companies in the country to win the prestigious “State Award for Quality”. Moldcell also won the highly coveted “Trademark of the Year” award for the third year in a row.
Outstanding corporate citizen
In addition to bringing cutting-edge cellular services to Moldova, Moldcell has proved to be an outstanding corporate citizen with a warm heart and refined sense of taste for arts. More than 150 cultural and social projects were initiated or supported by the company so far, developing country talents and promoting Moldova’s image abroad. Considering communication an art, Moldcell played a huge role in transforming Chisinau into the International capital of Festivals of: Jazz (Ethno Jazz); theatre (Eugene Ionesco); opera (Maria Biesu invita); painting (SummArt int. painters campus), children’s arts (“Raza Portocalie”)…
TeliaSonera is known for its emphasis on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), and Moldcell is hardly devoted to promote the concept’s value in Moldova. Developing an active role in the Moldovan business community as member of Foreign Investors and AmCham Associations, UN Global Compact Network, being elected to preside the local network for the 2008 year.
Welcoming social partnership, the company has responded to the initiative of supporting “Education for All” project, unfolded under the auspices of the Ministry of Education and Youth of RM in the context of implementing the Consolidated Action Plan in Education (2006-2008) with the UNICEF and UNESCO assistance grant sources administered by the World Bank. Within the project’s frames, all 1,328 Moldovan kindergartens attended by nearly 120,000 children will receive books, 48 kindergartens and 50 institutions will be brought back to life, an altruistic team of teachers and social assistants will be prepared to invest knowledge in children from rural areas, especially from socially vulnerable families.
European business policy and corporate values are inherited by Moldcell from its international shareholders and succesfully implemented, being adjusted to the local color and emotional background.
Ambitious development plans
In fact, Moldcell views itself as a representative of Moldova on the international stage. “We aim to enhance Moldova’s reputation as an excellent choice for business investment. We have been very successful over the past eight years and will be even more successful in years to come. We believe that with success comes responsibility, and we will continue to serve as an example to European companies of the potential of the Moldovan market,” Yusuf Baykan concludes.
Steel producer making massive investment in further modernisation
Makstil AD Skopje is positioned as a leader in the regional steel industry. Restructured in 1997 from the former Skopje Mines, Iron and Steel Company, with more than 40 years of tradition, Makstil has achieved an exceptional track record as an independent private company. It benefits from the support of its majority shareholder, the renowned metal trading company Duferco Group, based in Lugano, Switzerland.
According to Aleksandar Panov, general manager of Makstil, the association with Duferco has given Makstil the commercial,
technical and financial logistic and strength it needs to pursue its ambitious development plans. Thus, as a part of Duferco group Makstil has the advantage to share knowledge, experience and best practice with associated companies of Duferco group based
in various countries such as Belgium (Clabecq, Carsit, La Louvière), Italy, Denmark, France, South Africa, the US etc.
€40 million upgrade currently in progress
Since 1998, Makstil has been steadily modernising its technologies and production processes to meet international standards,
streamlining its production lines and establishing rigorous quality controls in order to be more competitive. Aleksandar Panov explains, “Our management decisions follow European Union criteria and our operations are in harmony with international practices.”
The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development provided a €10.7 million (USD15 million) loan to the company in 1998 to support its modernisation, and in its second investment cycle beginning in 2007, Makstil budgeted an additional €40 million for boosting its production capacity considerably and upgrading its performance at all levels thus benefiting in cost reduction, as well as for developing ecological aspects and projects.
Highest international standards
Makstil produces slabs and hot rolled heavy plates. It operates a steel plant and a rolling mill.
All Makstil’s products meet the standards of such organisations as EU Standard, TÜF, Lloyds Register of Shipping, American Bureau of Shipping, DET Norske Veritas, Bureau Veritas, Registro Italiano Navale, Germanishen Lloyd, Croatian Register and others. Makstil is certified ISO EN 9001:2000, a guarantee not only of high quality products but also of processes that do not harm the environment.
The palette of commercial products comprise the following types of plates: construction plates, shipbuilding plates, boiler pressure plates, micro alloy plates and plates for pipes by API standard.
Makstil sells its products independently and through the Duferco distribution network. The company’s main markets are the European Union, the former Yugoslav republics, Bulgaria, the US and other countries around the Mediterranean.
Major contributor to local economy
As Aleksandar Panov points out, Makstil is a major contributor to Macedonia’s industrial sector and to the country’s economic
growth, both through its own performance and through the opportunities it provides to local partners. In addition, Makstil has earned a reputation of a company with high standards of corporate social responsibility behaviour, thanks to its sponsorship of many community-service initiatives in Macedonia and abroad.
Makstil represents the potential of Macedonia’s industrial sector to produce high quality products for global markets.
Local car-rental firm offers top services at lower prices
Interways Rent A Car illustrates the entrepreneurship and potential of Macedonia’s private sector. The dynamic local firm has grown from a one-car operation to become a thriving enterprise with a fleet of 30 cars. Slobodan (Bobi) Krstev, a former taxi driver, launched the company and still oversees every aspect of its operations. “If a customer has any kind of problem, the customer can call me directly. This is the advantage of working with a small company,” he says.
Same services as global brands, for 20% less
Another advantage is price: Interways offers the same services as international car-rental brands, but charges around 20% less. Bobi Krstev says, “Like the international names, we offer a fleet of cars that are only two years old or less, and we provide excellent service, but rentals cost less with us. Customers see this and choose us. After all, the international brands are providing rental cars, not space shuttles!”
The Interways fleet includes a wide range of vehicles, from economy Kias to Opel, Chevrolet, Mitsubishi, Renault and Mercedes
cars as well as brand-new Mercedes shuttle buses and a camper van. For added convenience, Interways has offices at Skopje’s international airport and in downtown Skopje, as well as at Ohrid airport.
Extra services for no extra charge
Interways also provides a lot of extra services for no extra charge. Bobi Krstev explains, “We do not charge extra for renting a car after five o’clock in the afternoon, nor for returning the car after eight in the morning. Infant car seats are free, and so are winter tires, and we do not charge for airport pickup the way other companies do. We do not charge extra for a second driver either, and we provide services around the clock. This is how we compete with all the international brands. Our fleet and services are of the same quality but we charge less.”
Interways also offers shuttle services to destinations in Macedonia and beyond, including airport shuttles, short tours of Skopje, and transfers to Thessalonica and Athens, Greece; Sofia, Bulgaria; Belgrade, Serbia; Pristina, Kosovo; Tirana, Albania; and Podgorica, Montenegro.
High rate of return customers
Interways has a very high rate of return customers (around 90%) and is rapidly building up its international clientele following its stepped up marketing efforts, including via the Internet. In fact, according to Bobi Krstev, online advertising has significantly changed the international car-rental business by informing foreign travellers about local companies; before Internet advertising, travellers would usually rely only on international car-rental brand names.
Popular chauffeur services
Another reason for Interways’ competitive edge is that it is the only car-rental operation in Macedonia to offer cars with licensed
drivers. “Many foreigners are afraid to drive in this country. Even I am afraid to drive here sometimes!” Bobi Krstev says. Interways now has five licensed drivers, each with a chauffeured car, “Our customers who come to Macedonia on business can just concentrate on their business,” he says. Interways also offers long-term leasing, another cost-saving option for customers.
Interways continues to improve its fleet and services, particularly for the foreign travellers who make up most of its customers. Bobi Krstev explains, “It’s hard for foreigners to drive around Macedonia, so now we have GPS systems in our cars to make it simpler for visitors to get around and to find parking places.”
Expanding range of travel services
Interways is working closely with the Macedonian tourist office to help support Macedonia’s tourism sector, and in July 2008, Interways obtained its own license to provide travel services beyond car rental, bus shuttles, and chauffeur services. Thanks to a recommendation from a British charter operator, Interways has already successfully organised a trip to Macedonia for a group of soccer supporters from Scotland who came to see a match in Skopje; Interways set up all the group’s hotel reservations and bus transfers.
Putting customers first
Above all, Interways is dedicated to taking care of its clients. “Sometimes a car might be late in being returned, which causes
problems for the next clients planning to rent it. So, we give them lunch or coffee in the airport plus a discount, or even rent a car from another agency and pay double but charge the client the normal fee, just to make sure our client is happy,” Bobi Krstev
As for the future, Bobi Krstev says confidently, “I have big plans for growing my business.” To potential customers, he adds,
“Try our service. You will see and feel the difference.”
Country’s first private bank continues to expand
Tirana Bank, which became Albania’s first private bank when it was launched by Greece based Piraeus Bank Group in 1996, has been steadily expanding over the past four years and is now ranked the country’s second largest bank in funding.
The bank has won a number of awards for its high quality services, and in July this year, global banking leader Deutsche Bank named Tirana Bank the winner of its “2008 Euro STP Excellence Award” for its payment services in Euros. Tirana Bank’s parent bank, Piraeus Bank, won the award as well for the sixth year in a row.
Tirana Bank has now 46 branches and a well-developed ATM network throughout Albania, and employs more than 500 people. It has developed a wide range of services personalised to fit its customers’ needs. According to Dimitris Santixis, managing director, “Our deposits and loans are healthy and we have no real concerns for the bank concerning the global financial crisis.” He adds that the bank plans on moderate growth for 2009, and that it will also continue to focus on consolidation and further reforms during the year.
Focus on business lending
The bank is a universal bank specialising in serving corporate and SME customers, and now handles accounts for over 200 corporate clients. “Business lending accounts for 72% of our business,” Dimitris Santixis explains. Although some of the bank’s customers are Greek businessmen, 95% of the business is with Albanian businessmen and retail customers.
A full range of services, highly trained professional staff, and the backing of the Piraeus Bank Group — which guarantees strong financial foundations as well as regional reach — give Tirana Bank its competitive edge.
In 2004, the bank established Albania’s first leasing operation, Tirana Leasing, which provides leasing of vehicles, professional equipment and machinery and which has become a leading provider of specialised business services in Albania.
Tirana Bank has made a long-term commitment to Albania and will continue expanding its branches network and its lending business, having faith in the good prospects of the country on the way to European integration. Tirana Bank welcomes contacts with foreign companies and investors in Albania and is ready to offer them the best possible banking support.
National carrier puts safety first
Albania’s national carrier, Albanian Airlines, is playing a major role in bringing business and tourism visitors to Albania.
The airline was launched in 1992 and headquartered in Tirana. It offers flights between Tirana and Frankfurt, Turin, Bologna, Verona, Istanbul, and London, and schedules daily flights to some destinations in summer. It regularly offers special discounts on some flights.
In 2008, Albanian Airlines also provided daily flights between Zurich and Macedonia for an Albanian-owned, Zurichbased
travel agency. The airline was privatised in 1995 and acquired by Evsen Companies Group with President Dr. Ali Evsen since August 15th 2009.
New Boeing and Airbus aircraft
Albanian Airlines is the exclusive airline used by the Albanian government and the Albanian Chamber of Commerce, providing all government charter flights. Ylli Serjani, CEO and managing director, says that his future plans include expanding the airline’s fleet. “Currently all our aircraft are produced by British Aerospace and all maintenance is done in England. This is a very expensive option so we are choosing new Boeing and Airbus aircraft for our fleet,” he says.
Emphasis on safety
Albanian Airlines has earned a strong reputation for its policy of putting safety first. As Ylli Serjani explains, “Ever since the beginning, this airline has made safety its first priority, then comfort, and then profits. Our airline is proud to serve Albanian citizens as well as visitors to Albania. We are helping to open Albania to the world.” Albanian Airlines regularly sponsors local community service projects, including the Albanian Children’s Foundation. It is a major contributor to Albania’s development.
Str. Deshmore e 4 Shkurtit
Complex Green Park, Tower 2
Tirana – Albania