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Please give a brief overview ofyour operations in Ukraine.
Platinum Bank is one of the fastest growing and liquid retail banks in Ukraine serving 500 000 clients. Our strategy is focused on the rapid organic growth and acquisitions. Platinum Bank is now present with bank branches in every major Ukrainian city. And its network will enjoy a further boost in 2011 via acquisition of Home Credit Bank (Ukraine). Home Credit Bank (Ukraine) has 21 branches and nearly 65 000 customers which are now joining Platinum Bank.
The integral part of our brand is sustainable development, being corporate social responsible is in our everyday actions. Either introducing a new product or a business we evaluate the responsible factor of the initiative. That is what we call value-oriented management. In our CSR strategy we are trying to create local relations around our branches by helping people - opening computer classes for children education in orphanage. One of our most popular programs is financial education for children - more than 2 000 children have already learnt interesting tips about money visiting Platinum Posidelki.
How would your company like to develop in Ukraine in the future?
The first priority for us is to meet the needs of Ukrainians for getting money to solve their life issues. And we are happy to reach TOP-20 banks in accord to consumer loans in UAH (consolidated loan portfolio - UAH 770 645 mln).
We are also working under the introduction of simple and attractive products for small and medium enterprises, as these small companies drive the country economy and do need banking support.
As we are constantly communicating with our customers in branches and via social networks we know what they really need. Therefore in 2011 we are launching simple and user-friendly Internet banking which will provide the possibility of full financial management from home. Our clients will be able to make different payments, open deposits etc.
The financial crisis had a serious effect on companies world-wide. Could you explain how the crisis has affected your operations in Ukraine?
Anticipating the crisis toward the end of 2008 and its impact on Ukraine, the bank's management team was able to adapt rapidly to the negative economic environment and continue to grow the business. As a result, due to good risk management Platinum Bank remains Ukraine's most profitable and best capitalized bank. In terms of delivering returns to shareholders, Platinum Bank achieved a g°/o ROE in 2009 and 11,5% ROE in 2010. This stability was recognized by the award of a long-term investment credit rating of uaA, ranking it among the most reliable banks in Ukraine.
If you could make three reforms to your industry in Ukraine, what would they be?
As for banking sphere the most crucial issue is risk management. Adequate risk evaluation is the key to success. Scoring system, effective work of credit bureaus is what all the banks need. Effective risk management can be like "a window to America" for the Ukrainian market.
Important reforms should be taken in minds of Ukrainians. It is essential that we learn the notion - responsibility. Being responsible in all our actions - with partners, family, banks - will greatly influence not only banking sphere but the whole country.
The other important thing to have is basic financial knowledge. Due to the research taken by USAID in 2010 only 40% of grown-ups have good or satisfactory financial knowledge. Platinum Bank started this reform in 2010 by launching of financial program for children, Platinum Posidelki, as we believe that children will drive their parents for self-education and children are our future who will be able to support the reform. Of course, just one bank can't change the history, but we are doing the first steps and are happy to share our experience with other market players.
How do you see the year ahead in Ukraine? Are you broadly optimistic or pessimistic and why?
We observe slow market recovery but we do not expect that the end of 2011 should be consumer loan driven. Those banks which stopped crediting in the crisis now do not know their customers. It is like meeting a stranger in darkness. You see only the silhouette but you are not sure who is standing in front of you.
As for Platinum Bank we still see great opportunities. We have the strength to take adequate risks and the ability to think innovatively while working hard, and our team truly shares Platinum values. And all these factors give us strong confidence to be objectively optimistic!
Importing cures easy?
03 March 2011, EBA Health Care Commitee member companies had a meeting with First Deputy Head of State Customs Service Olexander Dorohovsky, representatives of the Kyiv Regional Customs and representatives of the central office of the State Customs Service. The meeting was preceded by complaints of the EBA HCC members who claimed that the Order No.196 adopted by Kyiv Regional Customs on 24 Feb. 2011 hampered their import activity. As per customs authorities, the mentioned Order is an internal instruction for customs officers on how to deal with classification issues related to a number of commodities including those classified as medical drugs. While discussing timeframes for customs control Customs Office reassured that if prepared and submitted according to the law the documents will be processed with no delay.
Notwithstanding this swift reaction from the government's side, the issue of customs clearance of almost all product range faces sporadic complications. The EBA representatives agreed with customs authorities to keep in touch and to continue the dialogue in case there would be problems and delays with customs control. The Customs Service expressed their interest in collaborating with the EBA in terms of customs procedures related to clinical trials.
Krzysztof Siedlecki, Country Manager, Astellas Pharma Europe BV
Business and Customs Office in any country live together like cats and dogs, water and fire or... you name it. There is no difference in this relation in Ukraine. Recently, pharmaceutical importers and manufacturers were entertained by Kiev Regional Customs Office by instruction No.196. In simple words the instruction deals with classification of goods - if the product is classified as drug it's VAT and customs duties free if however is considered as Food Supplement all customs and taxes apply. Major concern of the business was not the law as such but the implementation. The last was expected to be long; time-consuming with possible procedural abuses - shortly - the bureaucratic nightmare. Possible consequences - tons of pharmaceutical goods on quarantine, additional work for distributors, brokers and offices resulting in major delays of deliveries and finally shortage of medicaments in pharmacies.
Mankind did not invent better way to solve problems and clarify doubts than consensual discussion. EBA followed this invention. I must admit that the pace of action really shocked me. It was LESS than 24 hours between EBA application for the meeting and the response from the State Customs Service. On March 3rd delegation of EBA Health Care Committee with Mr. Kiryk - head of the HCC - in charge were admitted by First Deputy Head of State Customs Service Mr. Dorohovskiy and his subordinates.
The meeting was very constructive and from the first moment we could observe the will of cooperation from the side of Customs Authorities. I don't want to go deep in the details but the concerns of Pharmaceutical Business were listened very carefully. Some of them were pointed as important and promised to be under special control, some of our concerns were clarified on site by well prepared and competent coworkers of Mr. Dorohovskiy.
After this meeting few thoughts come to my mind which I would like to share with you.
First - response time of the state authorities to EBA signals reached good and expected level. Finally Government and its agencies noticed importance of the biggest Ukrainian business organization and the will to point and solve problems, not to generate them.
Second - there is a platform for communication and EBA with all Members shall use it to develop better business climate in Ukraine. I see the improved motivation of Government authorities to use EBA as resource of ideas, experience and good business practice and consider EBA as a partner not opponent.
Third - the organization is as strong as strong and active are its Members. The mobilization of pharmaceutical industry was exceptional when Hannibal was ante portas. We must be active not only when in calamity but must predict and prevent misfortunate or wrong decisions of Government and its affiliates. Therefore permanent and consequent cooperation must be set on every level - EBA is the best platform to provide it.
I would like to thank all colleagues from pharma industry also gathered in other organizations like AIPM for their contribution and cooperation.
Maryna Buchma, External Relations Manager GlaxoSmithKline Ukraine
The meeting with the Deputy Head of the SCS of Ukraine organized by EBA was a very good example of the cooperation with the state authorities and their readiness for such cooperation. The SCSU representatives provided clarifications and explanation why they implemented the mandatory classification of medicines requirements.
Now we can say that introduction of mandatory classification of medicines had no effect on the business processes of the GlaxoSmithKline Pharmaceuticals Ukraine. At this moment, the company had not faced any problems with delays and downtime of company's products at the Customs dealing with the SCSU order N196. Nevertheless, there are a lot of issues within the custom clearance procedure of the medicines imported to Ukraine - medicines for clinical trials, classification issues and etc. We hope that the dialogue will continue and International pharmaceutical companies will have opportunity to avoid delivery problems that they could have faced during the customs clearance of medicines.
Key facts about customs clearance in Ukraine.