MINSK, 27 September (BelTA) – During a visit to the Vitex manufacturing premises on 27 September, Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko praised the cosmetics company that also runs an agricultural business, BelTA has learned.
“This is an example of a business model that Belarus needs. In addition to its core business, the company runs an agricultural enterprise. Other companies should follow suit. We need to have multi-business companies. After all, we have everything in place for that,” the head of state said.
The head of state heard out a detailed report on operations and development prospects of the Vitex and Belita cosmetics producers. The president studied the manufacturing process and the companies' product assortment.
The company has great performance indicators. The average salary of employees working in the company's core business in Minsk exceeds Br1,900. Workers of the agricultural enterprise in the village of Teplen receive Br940 on average. Products worth $45 million were shipped abroad in 2018. The company is busy growing its business: last year the output increased by 7%, the manufacturing facilities are being expanded. The company in Minsk employs 830 people, the branch in Uzda District has 220 employees. However, next year more jobs will be created, thus the staff will increase to 500. More than 100 people are involved in agricultural production.
The agricultural enterprise in the village of Teplen used to operate in the red. After it was transferred to Vitex, the enterprise came from behind to become one of the best agricultural producers of the region. For example, its milk yield is on par with that of the country's best farms – over 10 tonnes per cow. The enterprise planted apple trees and started making juice and apple chips. The enterprise also branched out into the production of herbs and honey. The social infrastructure in the village was improved, with new houses built for employees.
“You have done a great job! Your company is one of the best. You have established a firm foothold. You know what to do and how to do it. I often cite you as an example,” the president said.
“We need a result. The company took charge of the loss making enterprise. Now it is happy about it,” the president added.
Aleksandr Lukashenko noted that the decision to transfer poorly performing enterprises to private businesses was right. There is no doubt about it now, 15 years after the decision was made. “Only four out of an array of enterprises distributed among the private sector were taken back. The private business managed to reverse the situation,” he said. About 30 agricultural enterprises like that are run by Minsk-based companies. The president believes that businesses that took over agricultural enterprises should adopt successful business practices of Vitex. “This is an example for you to follow. You need to make everyone work like they do,” the head of state said addressing the Minsk Oblast governor.
The president also gave an instruction to streamline and accelerate the process of land allocation to recovering agricultural companies. According to the Vitex head, this procedure is too slow now. “It is not the first time I hear complaints like that. The country is manageable, but we cannot resolve this issue. If this is not farmland, then what is the problem?” the head of state asked. He gave an instruction to come to grips with the situation. He added that regional authorities should complete land allocation procedures within a month.
Another issue under discussion was a possibility to sell cosmetics and foodstuffs in sealed packages in the same venue. For example, inspectors issue warnings to Vitex for selling cosmetics and company-made juices in their proprietary stores. “This is absurd. We have already discussed it. What is the difference between a tube of toothpaste and glass containers and other packaging?” the president asked.
Aleksandr Lukashenko noted that he decided to inspect the company in order to have a look at its manufacturing premises and make certain conclusions. “I always mention you as an example of a good businessman. You do a great job. Your employees are happy, especially about the attitude to them,” the president said addressing Viktor Tereshchenko. The president emphasized an important role of an executive and the need to think long-term while making personnel decisions. “I am looking at him [the company chief] and thinking: now everyone is urging reforms, crackdown and partition. If he is gone, will his successor be just as good in this role? Do not demand partition, breakup and radical reforms,” he said.
In addition to that, Aleksandr Lukashenko gave an instruction to remove some barriers and excessive bureaucracy. “We need to eliminate these barriers. It is absolutely unacceptable when it takes months to issue permits for land allocation,” the head of state added.
Vitex and Belita were Belarus' first cosmetics companies. They organized the complete production cycle in-house: from developing formulas to selling their products through a network of proprietary stores.
At present their products are sold in more than 30 countries worldwide, including Germany, Poland, Great Britain, Greece, Bulgaria, Slovakia, Italy, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Serbia, and the Baltic Sea states. In 2018 the companies penetrated the markets of Canada, Pakistan and Bahrain. This year the companies launched their products in Vietnam, Palestine and Afghanistan. Negotiations are underway with Turkey, Nigeria and Costa Rica.
Some 59% of the output is meant for export. The trading network features over 600 stores, departments and sections. The companies offer over 2,000 names of products.
In 2004 Vitex took over a loss-making company in Uzda District and set up its branch there. At present the agricultural enterprise run by the cosmetics producer is one of the leading agricultural companies of Minsk Oblast. Its dairy business was named one of the best in Belarus multiple times.