INTERVIEW - ITLogistics Paves Way for Foreign Investors To Enter Macedonian Market
SKOPJE (Macedonia), May 5 (SeeNews) – Macedonia's ITLogistics is helping foreign companies from the renewable energy, waste management and IT sectors to enter the local market, its co-owner Igor Nikoloski said.
The latest project of ITLogistics is related to Slovenian solar system installer M-LAN that plans to open a trading firm for photovoltaic panels in Skopje as early as this month, Nikoloski said in an interview for SeeNews.
M-LAN then will start training local marketing experts and will take part in Macedonian technological and agricultural fairs, Agrofood and Tehnoma, by the end of the year, he added.
ITLogistics provides logistics support to foreign companies that plan to enter not only the markets of Macedonia but also neighboring Albania and Kosovo, said Nikoloski. The company has its own team of spеcialists who are marketing foreign companies’ products on the three markets.
Once a foreign company seals a sales deal, it will be willing to enter the market and open its own unit that entails opening new jobs or outsourcing of production, he said. “So the first thing is to provide work for them”.
Then ITLogistics serves as an agent in other stages of the process, including guiding foreign investors through the administration labyrinths, providing PR services, legal counseling, tax and financial advice, as well as drafting business plans for a possible market entry.
ITLogistics also helps in terms of making contacts, mediating in signing deals with private companies or preparing participation in public tenders.
Going back to M-LAN, Nikoloski said that ITLogistics is now helping the Slovenian company to find buyers for its photovoltaics in Macedonia, adding that farmers are among potential clients.
With some 270 solar days a year, Macedonia is an ideal place for photovoltaics, thus local farmers may use solar energy for electricity production for their entire farms. They can also finance such projects with funds from the EU's IPARD programme for alternative energy sources, said Nikoloski.
The Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance for Rural Development (IPARD) programme is aimed at adjusting Macedonia’s rural farms to the European Union standards.
For example, for a 50,000 euro ($74,395) investment in a solar energy production system the farmer should pay only 25,000 euro, and if he takes a low-interest “green” loan the whole investment will be repaid in several years, Nikoloski said.
Farmers also have an option to sell the electricity surpluses generated by their solar systems at beneficial prices.
ITLogistics is also helping Italian company Catanzaro Costruzioni (www.catanzarocostruzioni.com) to bid in Macedonian government tenders for the construction of regional landfills in Strumica, in the south, and Tetovo, in the northwest.
If Catanzaro Costruzioni wins the tender for the Strumica landfill, it would invest over 40 million euro and will open over 100 jobs. Catanzaro should submit its binding bid in two to three weeks and the outcome is expected by the end of the summer.
The Italian company also plans another investment, in a privately-owned landfill, Nikoloski said without elaborating.
He said European Union candidate Macedonia has to build such landfills in view of its aspirations to join the bloc. The country received a EU candidate status in 2005 and awaits a date for starting accession negotiations.
Nikoloski mentioned another project that ITLogistics is working on, an Israeli investment in an Internet site for collective shopping based on a multilevel e-trade system. It will sell mainly technological products, furniture, home appliances and other products for young families.
“The site will be active in two-to-three weeks,” Nikoloski said, adding that even though this is a small investment, it can attract other Israeli firms to invest in Macedonia.
According to Nikoloski, agriculture, rural tourism and renewable energy are the most prospective sectors for investment in Macedonia.
ITLogistics also works as PR for promoting Macedonian companies in the region, Nikoloski said.
ITLogistics (www.itlogistics.com.mk) was established in 2005, mainly with German capital. Its business portfolio comprises investment consulting, business planning and intelligence as well as public relations.
Since 2010, ITLogistics is part of Macedonia's Green Group, which is comprised of four other companies and a non-government association.
The Macedonian company also is an affiliate partner of Chapter 4 Communications Austria (www.chapter4.at), a company for public relations and market intelligence in Central and Eastern Europe. Chapter4 in turn is an exclusive affiliate of global public relations agency Burson Marsteller (www.bm.com).