faces up to the challenges of the future

Interview with :

General Director, IMK of Factory of Steel, Welded and Pipes

16th of April 2002
Could you give us a brief history of the company and an overview of its shareholding structure?

This factory was established in 1972, the original plan was to make it a Factory for production of small steel pipes. The project and all the technology employed was done by a German firm under the name of "Hisen" from Düsseldorf, and all of the facilities were provided by the purchasing of the land by "Blomand" from Hamburg. From 1972 on it worked at full capacity. In the year 1982 investments in restructuring and improvement developed the capacities to transform the Factory to allow the production of larger tubes, with a capacity of production of 15.0000 tones of tube a year. The total capacity of the old factory was 200.000 tones tube a year. This factory produced and sold more than one million tones of tubes all around the world. In the phase that followed the war, we went through some changes because from the circumstance that we found ourselves in. During the Serbian ruling amongst other things they also changed the name of the Factory, initially after the war we changed the name of the Factory to the original name of the factory, which is IMK- Factory for production of steel tubes.

IMK stands for Metallic Industry of Kosovo. Some reserves of the old tubes were left from ten years prior, and we found five thousand tones of sheet-iron. The total damage that was done during the war was in value of about 4 million Euros. We have in the last two years done some technical improvements and found new resources, which we have completed successfully. Our technical resources are a 100% functional. From the working capital regained we have invested one million in reviving production. We plan to revive our marketing also. Due to the war the company has now lost its reputation. This year we are planning to become certified according to "ISO" standards. We have done 70 percent of total work needed it for this. We also aim to gain the certificate by the American Institute for Control, this certificate will give the factory what it had from the beginning but had lost during the war.

What is your current production?

Instant production of tubes is around 10% percent of our total capacity. We are not producing with our previous contractors. We are merely producing tubes with certain qualities as they are requested by the claimed contacts. In general the production is done according to the standards from APE, and also according to German standards Nº 1626. Our yearly turnover is about 2000,000 Euros a year of which 750,000 Euros accounts for the incomes of the workers. They have all reinvested in the factory. In addition we reserve another part for electrical energy.

What is your investment policy in terms of upgrading your present infrastructure and developing new products?

This year the general plan is the privatization of the business; we cannot think of investments without this transformation. With privatization we think that investments shall start next year and we may start using new technology that is needed to be able to compete in the world market. The investment needed is around 10,000,000 Euros. In addition to the necessary insurance also needed for potential damage. Our technology is a little bit old. Between the years 1989-1990 we started investments and ventures but the Serbian regime blocked this process. We are now waiting to increase general works with around 3 million Euros; we have contract agreements in the value of one million Euros. We are now actually in search of international partners so we can work together in new projects because the quality we produce will be interesting for foreign partners. Our factory in general is constructed and is established to play at the level that world markets demand.
What are the markets that company wishes to work in?

As a company that operates in Eastern Europe, we should be present in the Balkan area, while together with other companies, it would give us a chance to be present ourselves in the Middle East markets, and in markets around the Caspian Sea as well.

What do you think is necessary for Kosovo to be developed as an investment destination?

As in other businesses the first condition is to have political stability, financial stability, banking services and to have good transport conditions as well as a confirmed political status. Investors have to know to whom they are talking to; these are basic conditions for international business. It is very hard for large businesses in unstable areas, and from your magazine we would like to show our partners that we are sure of what we say, and that what we do here we save. It is interesting that this Factory has good resources, maybe not too many computers or marketing budgets but we are the best at producing steel tubes, and the only thing we are missing now is a market.

Mr. Metushi, what is your professional background and what has been so far, your major achievement?

Personally in this company I have 15 years experience, from 1978-1990, I was a manager of this company. Immediately after the war there were a few people who worked here. The transitional government at the time then ordered me to become responsible for this factory. After a while they compared managing styles. For my personal success, I would say that it was when we came here and we reactivated the first machine. Restarting the company allowed for business to re-start, which actually secured 850 workers a wage and all of this was done without any help from the outside. We cannot say it is a big success but existing in horizontal and vertical comparisons. Horizontally, I can say that we are in a better position than most of the companies in Kosovo, and we stand a good chance to join international trade markets. Vertically, we started from zero and this is what we have now, and we have been totally closed and now we are also connected, with the Internet and in a short period of one month we will have our own website.

What message would you send to our readers about the future of Kosovo and the status of its industry?

For our potential partners my message is simple, just have confidence in Kosovar businessmen. Be assured that the war ended and now the people of Kosova are thirsty for business to move forward. We are all waiting for cooperation in business. Kosova has big potential, flexible people and is gifted with qualified and young labour force as well as technical workers. In addition it also has natural recourses plus being is located in central Balkan makes it ideal as a hub for the transportation and distribution of goods

Note: World Investment News Ltd cannot be held responsible for the content of unedited transcriptions.

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World INvestment NEws, 2002.
This is the electronic edition of the special country report on Kosovo published in Far Eastern Economic REVIEW. September, 2002 Issue. Developed by AgenciaE.Tv