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      Vele Samak works as the Minister for Foreign Investments in Macedonia. The views expressed here are his own personal views and not official news or opinions of the Government of the Republic of Macedonia.

France’s Montupet to Build Aluminum Car Parts in Macedonia, Signs Memorandum with Government

7th July 2008

I should have published this back in late May when it happened, but better late then never. After working on this project over the past year and a half, I can finally say this:

The Prime Minister of the Government of the Republic of Macedonia today (May 28, 2008) signed a Memorandum of Understanding with executives from the French company Montupet S.A. for an investment project in Macedonia. Montupet will build a plant in the Free Economic Zone near Skopje, Macedonia to produce aluminum cylinder heads for automobile manufacturers. The plant, which will employ up to 500 people in the first phase, will be part of an initial investment of 55 million euros. Montupet plans to initiate construction by the end of 2008 and be operational in 2010. Macedonia was chosen in competition with a number of regional sites in Bulgaria and Romania, among others.

Montupet is third in a row Tier 1 supplier which has chosen Macedonia, following the likes of Johnson Controls and Johnson Matthey. This momentum over the past 2 years confirms the competitive position of Macedonia. I initiated discussions with Montupet in February of 2007, and focused constantly on the developments and opportunities with this company but also with the automotive sector in general as part of my mission to attract companies to invest in Macedonia.

Today, Macedonia has one of the best tax regimes in Europe, at 10% flat corporate and personal rates, and lowest wages with high unemployment of skilled people. When combined with excellent logistics to Europe and Turkey, and Government incentives, Macedonia presents a sustainable investment destination for European manufacturers.

Montupet works in partnership with many of the major European and American automobile manufacturers and is acknowledged as a world leader in the design, development and manufacture of aluminum cylinder heads, as well as being a major supplier of other aluminum automotive products such as wheel rims.

I’m enclosing a photo of the signing moment in their plant in France right here (I’m standing in the back, to the left and grinning): gj5r2840_std

Personally, this was a very satisfying moment, not just for me but also for my cabinet who excelled at all aspects to win this project. Fortunately for us, there’s more to come.

2 Responses to “France’s Montupet to Build Aluminum Car Parts in Macedonia, Signs Memorandum with Government”

  1. vanja Says:

    This is all well and good, but some of the concentration of bringing new projects and factories into Macedonia should focus on other cities besides just Skopje. The young poplulation is all moving out of the smaller cities such as Bitola and Prilep, etc.. and going to Skopje due to there being no factories or work in the other regions.

    I hope that the next big project that you concentrate on is in Bitola, as there are several factories that can easily be converted, renovated without the added cost of building from scratch.

    Its sad to see the young folks moving out of the villages, into the cities, only to move out to Skopje and then beyond. Bitola alone has seen a huge redcution in the numbers of its residents - 20K over the last few years. That’s a very sad statistic.

    I too have moved back from the USA (after being there most of my life - 35 years to be honest) but all I see is a lost generation with no where to go except Out. I hope you take that into consideration for the future of Macedonia, cause as soon as the borders are open our young folks are outta here.

    Vanja

  2. Vele Says:

    Vanja,
    That is exactly what I want to do and my biggest pain point. Prilep/Bitola, Stip region, Vele, Ohrid, etc, are all areas with good industrial base, schools, local infrastructure, lots of skilled people and wages up to 20% less than in the Skopje area. I’ve been on a mission to locate some of the latest opportunities in these regions, but we are faced with the biggest road block: lack of highways, no pun intended.

    Over the summer, I took 5 companies to visit sites in these cities, away from Skopje. They all pointed to the same problem: no highways! I’m raising this issue to the highest levels in Gov’t in order to place priority, but at the moment, it’s the only and unfortunate stop. For the moment, we are planning to open FEZs in Prilep/Bitola, Stip, Gevgelija, and even Ohrid in order to replicate the success of Skopje. The other aspect is the self-initiative of local Government, and here only Bitola is an example, not the other cities.

    Thanks for the comment, Vele

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