Anca Vlad: The authorities reacted very late to the crisis signals. They really still do not see the danger

Anca Vlad, the owner of the Fildas drug distributor network and that of the Catena chain pharmacies, companies with a turnover of 200 million Euros and 1,500 employees, says that the economic recovery will not take place until next year.

“One reacted very late to the crisis signals that were obvious last year. The authorities or politicians still do not see the danger of extending this crisis. It’s only been a few months from the beginning of the year optimistic estimates at the pessimistic one from today”, said Anca Vlad, one of the most famous entrepreneurs in the pharma industry.

The business environment needs, in her opinion, a dialogue with the authorities and the initial First House “is helping’’, but it is not enough.
“I am optimistic. I see the economic recovery next year and I see Romania capable to withstand to a notable event as the economic crisis hit, for resisting also to other hits”, said Anca Vlad.

Regarding the group of companies that she manages, the restructuring started since the middle of 2008 on the distribution area. This pharmaceutical market segment has been affected last year by the price freezing of the drugs.

“We felt it since last year (the crisis – n. red.) and we have made restructurings from August when the signals were evident. We restructured 80 jobs especially on the distribution”, said Vlad.

The group comprises mainly the Catena drugstore and the retailer Fildas Trading, and this year was budgeted a turnover of approximately 200 million euros, with a slighty increase compared to 2008 level. “We remain optimistic regarding the evolution of business. We are expecting the profit to be very symbolic”, said Vlad.


Symbolic profit

Reducing the number of the employees in the distribution was offset by the retail employment so that the total number of personnel in the group remains constant at about 1,500 people.
Separately, the retailer Fildas Trading, one of the top ten players in the field, recorded in the first quarter of this year a turnover of 190 million lei (44.6 million Euros), increasing with 3% compared to the level from the last year corresponding period.

The profit after the first three months was of 3 million lei (0.7 million Euros), decreasing with 25% from the first quarter of last year. Within Fildas Trading, there are currently 504 people working.


The project in Bulgaria was frozen

On the other hand, the Catena pharmacies, the second largest network in the local market after Sensiblu, part of A & D Pharma, had in the first three months of this year sales of 112 million lei (26.3 million Euros), increasing with 38% compared to the same period in 2008.
The strong advance was also specific to all network pharmacies and reached in some cases to 90% at the beginning of this year. The evolution was based on the removal of limits from pharmacies and increasing the level of compensation for the retirees. Catena operates approximately 200 units.

“This year we have scheduled maintenance investments, not also greenfield investments. This is the first time in the Fildas history when this happens. The company goes on a minimal risk”, said Anca Vlad.

Investments were scheduled in pharmacies and in production under the manufacturing contract, to which the group quitted. Fildas also carried out a project in Bulgaria, where an entity was founded and it has two employees, but it is frozen until the things clarifying things become clearer

“It was a test”, says Anca Vlad. His group competes with Mediplus, Relad, Farmexim, Farmexpert, Polisano, Montero in distribution and Sensiblu, City Pharma, Help Net, Dona and Centrofarm in retail. The pharmaceutical market was close to 2 billion Euros last year.

Taken from