History

It is well-known that the first manufacturing plant that Alkaloid grew from, were private ownership of the family Ognjanovich. In the beginning there were 15 workers that in two plants were manufacturing some 350 kg of pharmaceutical raw material. Back then, the factory has been the sprout of a new industrial branch - new not only locally but also in the region. The main business has been making opium alkaloids, respectively morphine base extraction and its synthesizing till codeine.

The quality of the Macedonian opium poppy heads, locally considered as "black gold" for ages, has been the crucial reason for opening this processing capacity. After the Second World War, the summer of 1945 was of historical significance. By decision of the government of the - at the time Federation of Peoples Republic of Yugoslavia and of Peoples Republic of Macedonia, the factory has been nationalized the 22 June. It had been - back then, a company with 17 employees and only one of them with university level education. That is when the continuous growth of Alkaloid started and what makes it one of the first industrial capacities in Republic of Macedonia and the - at the time - Yugoslavian community.

Due to the specificity of its production, during its first years after the war, the factory has a treatment of a capacity of special significance and is under direct jurisdiction of the Main Directorate for Medical Production in Belgrade.

As a production capacity of high importance for the Yugoslavian state at the time, on October 31, 1946 Alkaloid was registered as state owned factory for producing alkaloids. The title remains until 1950, when the jurisdiction is shifted from federal level to the General Directorate for the Chemical Industry of Macedonia. This is the period when the first steps of Alkaloid were undertaken for increasing its production, for modernizing the technology, expanding the manufacturing assortment and improving the qualification level of the employees.

By 1947 the number of employees is doubled. With 38 employees a record production of 1.544 kg alkaloids is achieved. The period of the first one of the famous 5 years plans was distinguished by the quality changes. The working conditions got improved, the existing capacities extended and new one built and the number of employees kept increasing. 1949 is the year when the existent production plans were exceeded and by that also the old notions on the production capacities of the company. It was that year when Alkaloid, with 53 workers produced 2.135 kilograms alkaloids with realized income one third higher than the one of 1947. It could not be unnoticed, neither locally or wider in all the state of the time, so these results ensured Alkaloid a federal recognition as the best factory in the country.

The growth of Alkaloid continued also in the period of the so called workers' self-governing, introduced in the factory on 29 August, 1950. With small oscillations, the company holds on to the dynamics of production growth, thus after the reconstruction of the capacities the production rose eight times.

By several things this decade represents a new phase in the development of Alkaloid, the most important one being the introduction of new production activities as part of the tendency to complete the technical and technological process. The year 1957 is of crucial importance for the progress of Alkaloid as that is when a new plant - the Galenic plant for drugs production started operating. It was there that from the basis of alkaloid raw material the company started producing ready made drugs in form of tablets and liquids, later on also ointments and ampoules. Some of them are: Codeine, Caffetin, Codaphen and Noscapin - tablets and syrups. The new production requires a fast improvement of the qualification structure of the employees: more pharmacists, technologists, chemical engineers...

All this influences towards increasing the share of the Galenic plant in the total production of Alkaloid, as one that grows permanently. In the first year of its operating, the Galenic plant participates with seven percent in the income realized, while only few years later it has 70% of the total income of the factory. Opening of the new Galenic plant is a benchmark that shows the start of the new period for the Macedonian pharmaceutical industry. It is with Alkaloid that this industry starts its getting through and affirmation out of the borders of its state. A special chapter of the development of Alkaloid is the start of cooperation with world famous pharmaceutical and chemical companies, preceded with extensive preparations and analysis. All that is merely an attempt of the factory to catch-up with the fast pace of the modern pharmaceutical and medical science and the latest technological achievements.

The first business and technical cooperation was established in 1961 with "Teraplix" form Paris, France. As Alkaloid grew into a modern pharmaceutical and chemical industry, such cooperation was traced in with the renowned "Pfizer" from New York, "Schering" AG from Berlin, "Specia" Paris, "Laoboratoires Delagrange" Paris, "Chemi" Lynz, "Solco" AG and "Hofman la Roche" Basle, "MerckSharpDom" USA and many others. In the beginning such cooperation means taking over licenses, but later on it develops in further processing and manufacturing substances intended for making particular pharmaceutical products. This enriches the range of Alkaloid products with new preparations for many fields of the medicine; many of them represent top achievements in the pharmacotherapy.

In May 1966 Alkaloid integrates with "Bilka" company for buying-out medicinal plants from Skopje. Three basic activities got incorporated into one: manufacturing alkaloids, ready made drugs and plants. Alkaloid grows into an industry with the real meaning of the word, as the production starts by providing its own raw material basis and finishes with the final product. Another significant moment during this period is the construction and start of operation of the new plant for extraction of poppy in 1968. This was a new technology of watery extraction of poppy heads without any cutting. This way was simplifying of the previous process and - what was the most important - provides extraction of doubled quantities of morphine basis. The extended production capacities for the extraction process require higher quantities of opium poppy raw material which imposes also a long-term planning of the poppy cultivation and a need to provide own raw material base. These operations meant also strengthening of the Alkaloid positions and its economic performances.

In only three years (1968 - 1971), the results of Alkaloid increased four-fold. The production increase is followed by increase in the number of employees and change of the qualification structure. In 1969 so-called at the time working organization has 515 employees, two years later this number increases to 671 out of which 120 with university level education. As per its strategy, Alkaloid in this period allocates significant amounts for investing and for other funds but also takes care for the living standard of its employees. Realization of the vision for creation of a modern pharmaceutical industry starts to get realized in 1972 with the new plant for ready made drugs.

It is a contemporary capacity with working surface of 7.000 m2, with all the galenic sections installed in, and it represents a completed technical and technological ensemble. The process of modernizing and upgrading the production continues with further completion of the alkaloid production by introducing new, contemporary devices for poppy extraction and extension of the production program for ready made drugs. Also in the botanicals, the technological process is modernized; the result is enhanced assortment and improved quality of the teas and dried products. During 1972 Alkaloid starts producing veterinary preparations and enters also the area of cosmetics.

Following the integrating orientation, with the goal for more economical and profitable functioning, in 1973 was undertaken the integration with the factory for chemicals and photo-material production "Lafoma" and with the soap and cosmetics factory "Cvetan Dimov".

In the mid-seventies in Alkaloid starts an investment cycle with main purpose to reconstruct the bottle-necks in most of the plants of the company with already regional significance. In 1979 becomes operational the factory for processing medicinal plants, it also is the period when the production of X-ray, graphic films and other photo-material started.

During 1978, the factory for paints and polish "Proleter" integrated into Alkaloid. During this decade started also the preparations for construction of the production plant for cosmetics and soap and few more, however smaller investment undertakings. Such development and growth rate positioned Alkaloid among the five biggest companies of the kind in the former Yugoslav community. Alkaloid has already 2.800 employees, 560 of them with high level education. The data that in the period 1974-1979 the value of the total annual product of Alkaloid keeps growing evidences the undoubted progress of the company as one that during its 40 years of existence grew into extremely important subject of the Macedonian economy.

For purposes of keeping the pace with the technical and technological progress in the area of medicine and pharmacy first of all, a complete reconstruction of the Department for tablets was undertaken; modernization of Department for ampoules and standardization starts and the plans for the new factory for veterinary products are made. The assortment of ready made drugs is extended and cooperation with some of the best world-famous pharmaceutical companies further developed. On the Yugoslavian market at the time, Alkaloid places a wide range of products of the preparatory and decorative cosmetics, with some of the most famous being "Becutan", "Black up", together with the assortment resulting from the cooperation with the renowned "Alberto Calver" USA and the German brand "Sherk".

The Center for Medical Cosmetology is one more department that functions successfully in the frames of Alkaloid. In the field of chemical production, a long-term production and technical cooperation is established with Merck from Darmstadt arranged as joint placement on the Yugoslavian and foreign markets. The age-old professional and business contacts with the British company "Admel" from Waybridge, contributed for extending the product range in the segment of dyaso and photo material. In cooperation with the Japanese corporation "Fuji" starts operating our new-built factory for producing X-ray films. Progress is also seen in the section of botanicals, as one where the science stands behind the processing and usage of the medicinal plants. Extension of that function is the Botanical Pharmacies Alkaloid opens in Skopje and Belgrade. Alongside the development, Alkaloid permanently pays a great attention to the upgrade of the working and living environment and the living standard of the employees.

Milestone of Alkaloid's success story during this period is the preparation and the start of the biggest investment cycle in the history of the company together with its ownership transformation in the framework of the system reforms in the state. During this decade, Alkaloid gets successfully over the transition period. It is a period of a significant transformation of the overall economic ambience in the state but also a time of significant changes in the Macedonian economy with the additional strike of the happenings in the region caused by the disintegration of the former Yugoslavian state.

Privatization of Alkaloid took place in compliance with the models of the Law on transformation of society owned capital that was in force. The year 1990 the company is registered as joint stock Company with mixed ownership. The year 1995 a decision is made to transform the company into one in private property while in 1998 Alkaloid is registered as joint stock Company in private property. Despite the radical changes in the ownership structure of the companies during the privatization period, Alkaloid remains among the rare ones that succeeded to maintain the positive tendency of growth and progress, and even to improve its operational performances.

The privatization process was led by several priorities, the dominant one being: reaching excellent results alongside with motivating the employees, permanent profitability, investing in modernizing, maintaining unity of the company, regular payment of dividend to all the shareholders and constant care for the employees. The management team of Alkaloid during this period strengthens the orientation to intensify the progress by means of the clear concept - investments in objects and technical-technological upgrade of the manufacturing. Despite the limited accumulation in this period, already in 1996 the first move in this direction was made - new equipment was bought for the Section for ampoules.

Alkaloid increases the production and the assortment while the increasingly emphasized export orientation of the company results in a breakthrough on foreign markets. At the end of this decade Alkaloid made highly significant export arrangements, such that made it the first local company that introduced new types of business cooperation with world-famous pharmaceutical companies. In order to realize its export obligations, Alkaloid enters in contracts with renowned European companies. Such cooperation results in realizing export that is several times over the maximum production capacities of Alkaloid at the time. A whole range of products of the alkaloid assortment, carrying the recognizable Macedonian brand gets produced by the production lines of the Swiss Solco and the French Delagrange.

The results achieved provided to Alkaloid a good position for realizing the ambitious development plans of the management team. The investments are oriented to buying contemporary equipment, upgrading the machine fleet, while construction of new drug manufacturing plant is benchmarked as the ultimate prospective of the company. Alongside continues the modernization, i.e. the development of the section of cosmetics; a huge investment endeavour of approximately 400.000 EUR is realized in the plant for organic and non-organic chemicals and in Coatings. The principle that for the highly selective world markets the investment is not a choice but a necessity remains a solid determination of the business agenda of Alkaloid. Alkaloid realized the most important strategic move: transfer to contemporary export oriented marketing system by opening daughter companies abroad. This network continues to expand onto new markets.

In 1996 Alkaloid starts its biggest investment cycle. The first step of the development strategy of the company is the start with construction of a new factory for hard dose forms with surface of around 12.000 m2. A new quality move of Alkaloid during this period is the cooperation with the European Bank for reconstruction and development (EBRD) and the International Finance Corporation (IFC). The contracts with the aforementioned international institutions, signed 1999, are a base for a new type of multilevel cooperation. By their means, on one side Alkaloid provides financial support of approximately 17,4 million euro and not as a traditional loan but as a convertible loan that EBRD and IFC may, at any moment, transfer into share capital in the company.

On the other side, by this type of cooperation realized in Macedonia for a first time, Alkaloid implements the most updated principles of corporate governance. The main business of Alkaloid - the Pharmaceuticals started implementing the strict norms for Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP). Previously in the section Botanicals were introduced the highest existing ISO standards, introduced later on in all the production capacities of Alkaloid and constantly upgraded. All this creates conditions for the leading Macedonian pharmaceutical brand to reach the level of the world-known drug manufacturers. During 1999 was completed the new warehouse for ready made drugs together with a modern distribution center and in April 2000 started functioning the most up to date warehouse for raw-material and packaging.

Under the motto - breakthrough on the world market, the investment intensified during 2002 with the start of the new factory for solid dose forms and the one for semi-synthetic cephalosporines as the only one in the region that have introduced all of the GMP standards. For purpose of better quality and more efficient production, Alkaloid is in process of constructing and equipping a modern department for packaging the drugs, in amount of 4.5 million EUR, with two new lines: packing hard forms (tablets, dragees and capsules) with capacity of 200.000 packages per minute and for ampoules with capacity of 30.000 ampoules per minute. In order to provide higher degree of automation of the manufacturing process, 600.000 EUR are invested both for the production line for dosing and packaging solutions for oral use and also adaptation of the premises for warehousing the semi-products.

In 2004 the oldest production plant of Alkaloid is relocated from its location in the quarter Avtokomanda to Gjorche Petrov in the new plant that, with higher standards and more sophisticated equipment, provides higher quality of the production. The general principle of the management team for continuous investing as a pre-condition for remaining on the world market and with the new agenda the investments are orientated mainly in equipment and technologies. A new, totally automated equipment, with much higher capacity and performances is installed in the Botanicals, similar upgrading is introduced also in Cosmetics. In the year 2000 Alkaloid-Pharmaceuticals becomes member of the European Generics Association of Drug Producers. In favour of the top quality of the final product, significant investment funds are allocated also in the process of control and providing quality of the drugs: the most up-to-date microbiological laboratory 1,2 million euro worth and additional 500.000 euro for the new chemical laboratory.

By completion of the investment cycle, we provided that all the manufacturing cycle - since the entry of the raw material in the factory all along till the output of final product, takes place in compliance with the highest European standards for manufacturing drugs. This has been verified by several foreign inspection services from EU countries and from the American multinational Pfizer for which Alkaloid is a partner of choice for decades already. In 2002 Alkaloid sells its first license for the drug Caffetin for the Russian market, a business success that rarely any Macedonian producer may state to have. The company may also be proud with the patenting of its preparation Novamorf in USA in 2003. The cooperation with the Bosnian pharmaceutical producer Pharmavita is initiated 2005 and it covers few of the recognizable drugs of the Alkaloid assortment. The production range of Alkaloid is placed on the markets of 29 countries, the company covers by its subsidiaries the Russian Federation, Switzerland, Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia, Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria and Albania. Opening the subsidiary in USA in February this year marks the start of the realization of our plan for breaking through on one of the most selective markets in the world.

According to the latest data, Alkaloid exports on foreign markets over 70% of its production - a fact that confirms the export orientation as a dominant one of the company. In the meantime Alkaloid becomes recognizable by its new, proactive marketing concept and the corporate European image. Among the priorities remains the care for the employees, the shareholders, environment, business partners, health system and above all - the health of the human beings.

The investments realized, the changes and increased overall business, especially during the last few years, impose the need for upgrading the existent and installing a modern IT system comprising integration and consolidation of the overall software network.

Facing our 70th anniversary, we started implementing SAP, a data transfer system worth over 2 million euro, a system that by its modules integrates completely all the business segments of the company. This also strengthens Alkaloid's position of a leader in one more field, as this is the first registered SAP that a company in our country installs. Since November 2002 the company is quoted on the official market of the Macedonian Stock Exchange. Alkaloid is the first company in Macedonia to open and confirm its legitimacy before the public by transparently presenting the balances of its financial operations for viewing by all the potential investors. Alkaloid was elected the most transparent of the companies quoted on the stock market for the year 2003, while our share is the most traded with and the most liquid on the Macedonian stock market.

During the last 20 years Alkaloid has invested in its upgrading an amount between 70 and 80 million euro. Alongside with introduction of new technologies changes also the structure of the employees in favour of highly educated human resources. In its vision Alkaloid remains with its orientation that the most worthwhile investment for any company is the human being with its education for managing new technologies, which is undoubtedly important for the development and existence of the company which continues its success story by facing new challenges.