Subscribe to our newsletter

Our Brands are Part of People’s Lives

Since it was first established back in August 1936, Alkaloid has grown and developed through very tumultuous and challenging decades to become the modern, export-oriented company with nearly 3,000 employees that it is today

Here we discuss a tradition dating back almost nine decades, brands built by generations of employees, investments in new products and technologies, the conquering of new markets and regional cooperation with Živko Mukaetov, CEO of one of North Macedonia’s best and most famous companies.

Your company has grown and developed over the course of very tumultuous and challenging decades, showing that resilience and an ability to adapt quickly to changes are vital in business. Would you agree?

― The modest beginnings of Alkaloid date back to August 1936, when one of the oldest capacities for processing alkaloids was opened on the outskirts of the city of Skopje, within the borders of the then Yugoslavia.

From only two plants with 15 workers, today – 88 years later – Alkaloid has around 80,000m2 of production facilities, nearly 3,000 employees at its headquarters in Skopje and 22 subsidiaries located in 15 countries around the world.

You have just completed your largest investment endeavour of the last two decades, which required plenty of enthusiasm, knowledge and money. Could you tell us about this facility?

― A special milestone in the long history of Alkaloid was reached with the construction of our facilities for solid dosage forms and semi-synthetic cephalosporins, launched in 2002 with the assistance of an EBRD/IFC convertible loan, for which Alkaloid implemented strict principles of corporate governance.

A special milestone in the long history of Alkaloid was reached with the construction of the facilities for solid dosage forms and semi-synthetic cephalosporins, launched in 2002

Two decades on, we decided to upgrade our 12,000m2 solid dosage forms production facilities with an additional 6,200m2, this time investing 19.4 million euros and increasing production volumes from two to four billion tablets annually.

You export more than 70% of your production, with Serbia representing your largest export market, and 90% of your pharmaceutical products Where else are you present?

― Alkaloid‘s cooperation with multinationals like Pfizer and Sanofi can be traced back five decades. It was in 2005 that we established successful cooperation with U.S. companies specialising in herbal production, such as Aveda, Arbonne International, Swanson etc. We received our first EU marketing authorisation for Lisinopril in 2007, while we today have over 950 MAs of our own pharmaceutical products in the EU. The company has been growing continuously since then and to date has achieved five-fold growth, which wasn’t easy at all.

There is no stopping you when it comes to investment, innovation, and keeping up with trends. Could you share your thoughts?

― In these modern times of the rapid flow of information, people don’t communicate with anonymous products, but rather build relationships with brands in which they identify their own values. In order for a brand to survive, it must continuously fulfil promises given and deliver a high and constant level of quality. A brand is not created overnight, via a single marketing campaign; that requires time, patience, investments, lots of hard work and a clever strategy.

North Macedonia is your home country, while you have a production facility in Belgrade, a chemical laboratory in Ljubljana and a corporate legal team in Zagreb. What is your view of regional and broader cooperation?

― As vice president of the Macedonian Chamber of Commerce and a member of the organisation Young Global Leaders (part of the World Economic Forum), I can state with certainty that regional synergies strengthen the businesses in the region and beyond. They not only foster the improvement of the business climate in general, but also aid in the removing of various obstacles while contributing to sustainable development.

In order for a brand to survive, it must continuously fulfil the promises given and deliver a high and constant level of quality

Promoting bilateral ties, shared values, mutual interests and a common view of how to engage with the world are some of the standpoints in my honorary functions as Consul General for Denmark and Consul for Norway in North Macedonia that I have performed since 2007 and 2023 respectively.

There is barely a child in this region that hasn’t grown up with your Becutan brand. Would you agree that this has been one of the very rare brands to have become stronger over the years, despite competition?

― In terms of children’s cosmetics, the region’s market seems to be oversaturated. New brands come and go, mostly without fulfilling their promised claims. Our well-known Becutan brand last year celebrated its 45th anniversary. From only five products, the Becutan portfolio today includes 60 types of products with more than 100 different forms, all clinically or dermatologically tested and developed in cooperation with paediatricians, neonatologists and dermatologists. Generations have grown up with this brand. There is no greater satisfaction than when a product or brand actually becomes a part of people’s lives.

Built by generations

Alkaloid’s continuous business success and sustainable development is mainly a result of the quality of our products, the company’s personnel, the Alkaloid brand and the individual brands built over the course of decades by selflessly devoted generations of employees.

Global presence

Being an export-oriented company based in North Macedonian hasn’t been easy at all, but we endured on that path thanks to our own knowledge, skills and resources. We are now present on every continent. In order to succeed in developed countries, one must adhere to principles of good governance, have high and constant product and service quality, and be sufficiently competitive.

New facilities, new technologies

The new solid dosage forms production facilities comply with strict GMP standards, with all processes fully integrated and digitalised, and data collection generated automatically. We have thus also introduced some new technologies, such as dry granulation with roller compactor and bilayer tablets.

Must Read