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Investors confidence

Ohridska Banka Societe Generale Skopje

Société Générale is sixth largest in Europe or seventeenth by market capitalization. The company is a component of the Euro Stoxx 50 stock market index. The enry in the market was by acquisition of Local Bank - Ohridska banka in 2007 bank - direct investment. Significant above average increase in commercial activities with respected qualitative performance.

The fact is that the banks' high share of around 90% (in Macedonia) in the structure of the financial system, and in the offer with dominant conservative products, deposits and loans identifies adequate space for significant potential for growth, in general as well as an assortment of modern banking services. The presence of a world-known global brand of the Societe Generale type is a significant argument of the client’s side to be part of the modern and global banking trends, as well as appropriate support to foreign direct investment from other global investors to the local market.

Recommendations to fellow investors when considering investing in Macedonia: Positive, acceptable regulatory framework, significant market potential with simultaneous quality potential of the resources side - labor, favorable tax rates and stimulating solutions for investing in investments.

Strength sides: a well-regulated and stable financial system, the potential for growth, availability of quality workforce, relatively low taxes and stimulating investment motive.Weak sides: impact from the political environment to the current economic processes, prolonged integration processes with the EU and NATO. Recommendations to fellow investors when considering investing in Macedonia: Positive, acceptable regulatory framework, significant market potential with simultaneous quality potential of the resources side - labor, favorable tax rates and stimulating solutions for investing in investments.

Governments in the region should focus on regional co-operation on the basis of comparative advantages, goods and services flow, infrastructure (road and railway) connection, avoidance of short-term protectionist and population measures.

Country of origin/ headquarters Size of investment so far (approximately) Date of market entry Number of employees Regional presence if applicable (which country besides base country in the region – production or distribution)
France €55 million 2007 404 Serbia, Montenegro, Albania, Slovenia, Bulgaria, Romania
Branka Pavlovic, President of the Management Board

EVN Macedonia

EVN Macedonia AD works with electricity supply, electricity production, electricity distribution. Market leader in Macedonia with more than 50% market share.

We entered the market as winner of privatisation tender in 2006. At that time Macedonia showed GDP growth rate of more than 8%.

How we see the market? Strength: Flexibility due to smallness of the country, Weakness: underdeveloped tourism

We would recommend to fellow investors to plan on the long-term.

Country of origin/ headquarters Size of investment so far (approximately) Date of market entry Number of employees Regional presence if applicable (which country besides base country in the region – production or distribution)
Austria €300 milion 2006 2000 Bulgaria, Croatia
Stefan Peter, Management Board Chairman

Van Hool Macedonia

We have chosen Macedonia because of previous existence of same industry (bus manufacturing), Government proactivity in helping for quick start up of new investment through institutions, low cost labor market, positive business climate and readiness for appropriate law reforms, fairly good infrastructure (gas, electricity, roads), possible local suppliers of goods and services, state incentives.

The most attractive feature could vary for different types of industry: from the low cost labor, to existence of skilled labor or existence of local suppliers, or positive and friendly business climate towards foreign investors, but all of this in a politically and legally stable environment.

Strengths: business climate

Weaknesses: lack of available skilled labor, complex and lengthy administrative processes (ex. construction or work permits)

Recommendations for the Governments of the region is to improve inter-border flow of goods and people (customs procedures, police and customs border systems).

Country of origin/ headquarters Size of investment so far (approximately) Date of market entry Number of employees Regional presence if applicable (which country besides base country in the region – production or distribution)
Belgium €40 million July 2013 1,100 NA
Avram Stojcevski, Plant Manager

Comfy-Angel Prilep

The company is mostly export oriented, 95% of the production is exported to the European market and 5% is sold on Macedonian market with a bigger focus on developing and exporting to Western Balkan Countries market in 2018.

One big advantage for our company is our position geographically. We are situated in the crossroad of the Balkans and have easy access by road to most European countries.

Strengths: geographical position, regular VAT returns, flat tax, professional relationship with the governmental institutions.

Our current weakness is lack of trained people for textile companies on the labor market, lack of energy sources, not having base textile industry in the country and higher import duty rate for textile fabrics in comparison to the rate in EU.

We would advise fellow investors to have a research on the labor market regarding skills requested by the industry they would like to invest in. 

Our recommendation for the Governments is Improving the roads, improving the education system towards more practical knowledge, supporting investments in new energy sources, supporting investment in base industry for textile and other industries missing in the region, supporting the companies in new technology investments, implementing other means of supporting the profitable and social responsible companies in their growth.  

Country of origin/ headquarters Size of investment so far (approximately) Date of market entry Number of employees Regional presence if applicable (which country besides base country in the region – production or distribution)
UK €7 million 2004 900 Selling products in Kosovo and Albania
Irena Jakimovska, Managing director

Arcelor Mittal

ArcelorMittal Skopje is one of the largest steel product manufacturers in the Balkans offering Cold Rolled Coils & Sheets, Galvanized and Pre-painted Coils, mainly for the General Industry segment on the regional market.

The investment in Flat Steel part of old Zelezara unit happened during the privatization period, with today’s operation focused on Rerolling, Annealing, Hot Dip Galvanizing and Organic Coating mainly for construction, roofing and cladding. Key arguments in the venture were to take advantage of the existing installations and great know-how of the workforce and management and from a commercial perspective to be present with a close-to-the-market facility in the growing Western Balkan market and neighboring EU-markets.

We have chosen Macedonia as first, from an operational perspective, Macedonia offered an already existing industrial culture, including several decades of steel production, so skills were available to develop a sustainable growing industry; this includes a structure of technical and business oriented universities.

So far we can also say that we always had open doors and competent discussion partners in administrations and ministries, independently of the ruling party.
For sure, progress is still required to improve the energy cost situation for which Macedonia has certain structural inconveniences, likewise for the road and rail infrastructure, as well as for the cross-border business improvements are required, political stability should be a permanent status and the integration in the EU-market should not be further delayed.
We face issues linked to some legal changes with regard to the property of water rights and the linked supply security and costs – these are examples underlining the importance of legal stability.
In a growing economy the development of qualified skills remains an issue, the current intent to strengthen the links between high schools and universities, also to implement the Dual educational System should help to move in the right direction.

We recommend to the Government to speed up EU, improve cost competitiveness through affordable and efficient infrastructure, energy, environment, service supplier infrastructure, availability of qualified skills - I think all of these issues are clearly identified, discussed and tackled. Special attention should be put on avoiding disturbance on certain markets by suppliers from countries applying prices which should be controlled by anti-dumping measures; hence market regulation instruments which are applied in the EU should also be applied in the region, the contrary generally leads to a significant disequilibrium.   

Many of the points mentioned above are not expected to drastically worsen in the next years, at the contrary, if you look for instance at the Forecast of the World Bank for the hole Western Balkan area it is rather showing signs of optimism. So if the existing challenges are rightly tackled by all stakeholders, there is a real chance for the optimistic scenario to happen.   

Country of origin/ headquarters Size of investment so far (approximately) Date of market entry Number of employees Regional presence if applicable (which country besides base country in the region – production or distribution)
Luxemburg €120 million 2004 455 Romania, Bosnia
Arcelor Mittal, Wolfgang Maringer, Plant Director

Partners

Ebrd

Strategic partner

Karanovic Nikolic

Content partner

Confida

Content partner

I&F McCann

Communications partner