INTERVIEW WITH MD MAKRO

Makro of Netherlands in collaboration with House of Habib introducing international standards in the marketing of fresh fruits, vegetables & dairy products

By AMANULLAH BASHAR
Feb 27 - Mar 05, 2006

Ideally located and surrounded by rich lands which produce plenty of agriculture, horticulture and dairy products round the year, Lahore is steadily building up its image as a place for investment and doing business for the people from within and outside Pakistan.

An impressive civic and social infrastructure, inherited by a rich cultural and historic background, continues to attract investors at a massive scale in different areas of the economy which portrays a glorious future of this city generally called as the heart of Pakistan.

Amongst a row of foreign investors in Lahore the arrival of SHV Holding bearing the concept of wholesale Cash & Carry identical to Makro Asia operations from Netherlands is bound to make a big change in dairy, agriculture and horticulture marketing by elevating the hygienic qualities, packaging standards and presentation of fresh vegetables, fruits and dairy products in Pakistan.

In fact, SHV Holding Netherlands in collaboration with House of Habib, a household name in Pakistan has decided to initiate cash and carry operations from Lahore which will be ultimately expanded to all major cities of the country.

Marek Minkiewicz, Managing Director of Makro-Habib Pakistan limited told PAGE that Makro will be launching its business from three premises in Lahore for which suitable land has already been acquired.

The spontaneous remarks and the pros and cons of doing business in Lahore made by Marek, a young executive with a sharp vision, gave an impression as we were talking to a local from Lahore rather than a stranger from Netherlands.

Marek foresees that Lahore, being a border city with an advantage of having a close vicinity to a huge consumer market available in neighboring India, is at the threshold of an economic boom on the back of an economic turn around due to the policies of the present economic managers and improving political relations with neighbors especially with India.

He was hopeful that the investment being made by his company would be a great step towards optimizing the benefits of the plentiful fresh vegetables, fruits, milk and other dairy products with the application of modern techniques and equipment for preservation and packaging to ensure freshness of the perishable items. Usually, due to mishandling and non-availability of equipment and plants for preservation of perishable items, a huge amount of precious fruits and vegetable go into waste every year in Pakistan.

The way of marketing and preservation of the perishable items at international standards by Makro is likely to bring a change of marketing culture in Pakistan as the competitors in this area will have to come at par in terms of quality and standards to survive in business.

The company has been formed on 29th June; 2005 after a joint venture agreement between SHV Holding Netherlands and House of Habib. The business of the company will be on the concept of wholesale Cash & Carry similar to Makro Asia operations.

Originated in the Netherlands in 1896, SHV's main activities are trade and distribution of LPG (SHV Gas) exploration and production of oil and gas (Dyas), trading of food and non-food consumer goods (Makro). The SHV group employs more than 30,000 people in 2004 with a turnover approximately euro 13.7 billion.

A network of more than 180 Makro stores in Asia and South America, import and export of food, non-food and agricultural produce throughout the region, bringing farmers closer to the end consumers. The Cash & Carry (Makro) has annual total sales in 2004 of euro 3.5 billion. Makro employs more than 14,000 people with over seven million registered customers. They are a low cost operator, target volume sales with low margins. Their prices are the lowest among their competitors. Exports by Makro to other countries of food & farm products throughout the area of operation are part of Makro's global strategy.

BRIEF PROFILE OF HOUSE OF HABIB

The House of Habib (HoH)was established prior to independence and is known for its pioneering spirit. It today employs more than 10,000 people and manages more than 20 large companies, including eight public limited companies, besides two banks. HoH partners with leading international brands in the field of engineering and chemicals such as Toyota, Nippon, Denso, Gabriel, Dynea, Knauff, etc. The industrial side of the group alone had an annual turnover of nearly US$ 700 million last year. The two banks and an insurance company that the Group owns and operates namely Habib Bank A. G Zurich, Metropolitan Bank and Habib Insurance are leaders in their industry and enjoy a very sound reputation.