Duke of the Polish Lodz region came to visit Slovenia

18. 7. 2003

At the invitation of the company Lek d.d., Mr. Krzystof Makowski, Duke of the Polish Lodz region, came to visit Slovenia. During the visit, the Duke Makowski, accompanied by the delegation of Lek and its business partners headed by Mr. Metod Dragonja, the President of the Lek Management Board, met on 16 July 2003 Ms. Marta Kos Marko, the Vice Chairman of the Chamber of Commerce of the Republic of Slovenia.

Ms. Kos took the opportunity to make an overview of the current economic situation in Slovenia. She put special emphasis on the importance of Slovenia’s accession to the EU that will also have a beneficial effect on the business operations with Poland. She presented the guest from Poland with the key role of the Slovenian companies in the territory of South-Eastern Europe, indicating the possibility of joint projects. She also underlined Lek’s significance for the Slovenian economy. According to the data provided by the Statistical Office of the Republic of Slovenia for the year 2002, Lek’s share in total Slovenia’ exports was 3.2%, which ranks it 3rd among the Slovenian exporters. Lek is holding the 1st position among the Slovenian exporters in as many as 26 countries, of which the top five are Poland, USA, Macedonia, China, South Korea. Last year Lek exported to 86 countries worldwide, and achieved the best sales results in Poland, USA, Russia, Croatia, Czech Republic.

According to Lek representatives, Lek in Poland is holding a 2.3% pharmaceutical market share. Lek Polska, a company within the Lek Group, is one of the leading pharmaceutical companies in Poland. In addition to promoting and distributing Lek pharmaceutical and veterinary products from Slovenia, it also has its own manufacturing facilities for the production of pharmaceutical products. It employs around 260 people, and in 2002 it reached total sales in the amount of Zl 284 million (SFr 111 million), of which Zl 30 million (SFr 12 million) own production. With a 28% sales growth in 2002 (the highest growth in the pharmaceutical sector), Lek Polska was officially pronounced a “gazelle” of the Polish economy.

Lek’s investment in Strykow, i.e. the Production and Logistics Centre, will be the company’s and Slovenia’s largest investment abroad. Applying state-of-the-art technologies, the Centre, worth EUR 40 million, is a 21st-century project.The manufacturing facilities for solid pharmaceutical forms, low- and high-bay warehouses, and a Business and QC building with offices and laboratories for the control of microbiological and chemical quality will cover a surface of 25,000 m2. The new production and logistics centre of Lek in Poland will be constructed in accordance with international GMP standards, functioning as a European centre that will ensure not only the realization of Lek’s sales objectives in Poland, but also in other Lek’s traditional markets and EU countries.

Construction works are performed by several Slovenian and Polish companies, e.g. Ingrad d.d., Trimo d.d., IMP Klima montaža d.d., Makro 5 d.o.o, and will be completed in the middle of 2004 when the facility will also be inaugurated.

Duke Makowski presented Lodz as the capital of the Lodz Dukedom and the central city of the entire industrial region and Poland as a whole. Previously based on traditional industries such as textile industry, the region’s economy has been restructured, priding itself with a number of successful domestic and foreign companies in the fields of pharmacy, telecommunications and information technology, and fruit and vegetable processing, to mention just a few. The Polish government is giving its full support to the construction of road infrastructure and other types of infrastructure, and striving to effect tax reforms to attract foreign investors, especially those with business projects similar to Lek’s.

The fact that Lek is an integral part of the Novartis Group is opening up additional opportunities for the company to consolidate its pharmaceutical market position and to enhance its scope of activities in Poland. According to Mr. Makowski, this project makes Lek also an important Polish company.