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EBRD and EU support granite and marble processor in North Macedonia

By Volker Ahlemeyer

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The EBRD and the European Union (EU) have supported the stone processor and helped it to invest in modern equipment.

Krin KG invests in solar power and modern equipment

на Македонски

Across North Macedonia, marble, granite and elaborate stone decorations are a familiar sight. The classical balustrades of Skopje’s Art Bridge over the Vardar River, the modern tiled finish of a business centre, or an open-air restaurant impressing clients with its decorated pillars are just a few examples. They all originated at Krin KG.

The EBRD and the European Union (EU) have supported the stone processor and helped it to invest in modern equipment.

“These natural stones and works are very much part of our identity,” says Gjorgji Kitanoski, Manager at Krin KG. “They have been very popular here for centuries and this is a trend that continues in modern times. What a lot of people do not realise at first is that they are locally sourced and manufactured.”

The firm’s main office and production factory are located close to the city of Prilep, while the four quarries – two for granite, one for marble and one for travertine – are located within 40 km of the city. These natural stones come in many colours, including sunny yellow and bright red tones as well as traditional glossy white and black-lined marble. The stones are transformed into various shapes and surface finishes. The end-products range from tiles and slabs to decorative carvings and even sculptures.

Developing competitive businesses

The EBRD supports small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in North Macedonia through loans, which are provided by partner banks, such as Sparkasse Bank AD Skopje, in Krin KG’s case. The investments help companies to meet high EU standards that make them more competitive. Furthermore, EU funds serve to identify the most suitable equipment and processes and verify them after installation.

“This is a very sunny part of the country. We chose our new equipment with environmental and cost considerations in mind and decided to install solar panels on our roof,” explains Mr Kitanoski. “On top of this, we have a lot of interest in increasing our exports and are exploring new opportunities for serving new clients on the European market.”

Apart from solar power, the company has invested in new machinery to ensure a high quality finish for stone-surfaces, for example for anti-slip treatment, and has reconstructed its transformer station to improve its energy supply.

“Around 65 employees from the local area work on shaping the stone to look its best,” explains Mr Kitanoski. Krin KG’s stone products are in high demand: last year alone, 60,000 m2 were sold to customers abroad, mostly in neighbouring countries, as well as to buyers in North Macedonia.

“It is one of our key priorities in North Macedonia to support small and dynamic businesses – now more than ever, given the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic,” says Andi Aranitasi, Head of the EBRD’s Skopje office. “We work closely with our partners to help this vital segment grow, to build a reliable, modern infrastructure and to boost trade across the region and with the EU.”

Nicola Bertolini, Head of Cooperation at the EU Delegation to North Macedonia, notes: “SMEs are the accelerators of any economy. Supporting their development and growth has always been of great importance for the EU. In times of pandemic, we see particularly that even a small business provides a great opportunity to make a difference in the world and the region. We are more than happy that the EU is part of this success story.”

“There is a clear sense of pride when you see the paving of your local market square, a church façade or the exterior of our Archaeological Museum and you know that they have been produced by your team,” says Mr Kitanoski.

It is work like this, with a long-lasting impact – not only in construction and the environment, but also for our partners and businesses such as Krin KG – that will build a vibrant economy in North Macedonia for the future.

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