Mikhail Aliabin, St. Petersburg: GT Group is Born

Fosber, Asahi, Mosca, Vega, WSA, TCY, Comertek, Aceli, Hi-Tech, Yueli, Policart, Bricq, Tiruña. And a new name — GT GROUP. Today we interview Mikhail Aliabin — the Head of GT GROUP. New times, new possibilities. I hope you will not feel bored

Russian version

— Hello, Misha! I am glad to see you safe and sound. Straight to business. I had a reason to call — a bunch of news came from you, we heard about such a brand as GT GROUP. Would you tell us about it? What sort of idea is that, a new association?

— Hello, dear friend. First of all, my best wishes from fascinating St. Petersburg. I am in high spirits, the May holidays are coming — the May Day, then 75 years of the Victory in the most horrible war. So my heartiest congratulations to everybody!

— I have not understood, how I shall publish all your news. These would fill in all our infospace…

— Of course, they will. But they will also boost your rating.

“Mikhail, you over-egg the pudding!..”

— I agree that you have clear and important news.

— And no secondary news, everything seems to be on the case.

— There can be news when a person is talking about some project, but the money has not budged yet. All your news is the movement of money, it is interesting and this is not PR.

— Indeed, we accumulated enough news. It turned out that we happened to have some spare time and we returned to where we started from.

Remember, some time ago we were also too much on-air and I got a call from a good friend of mine who said: Mikhail, you over-egg the pudding…”

It was a call from Valeriy Borisovich Zaytsev, about 12 to 15 years ago, it seems you had a magazine at that time. So he said to me jokingly: “I open a magazine, and in 69 pages of 86 see your name. Isn’t that too much?”

There’s a grain of joke in every joke, but still we slowed down the publications. And now we have got some time and decided to talk about our projects.

— Misha, at that time we published any news we received from you about any installations. Your PR service worked very well, and others either did not want to or did not have any news to send.

That is, the fact that you over-egged the pudding is not a question of your actions in the media, but a question of your work in the market. So tell him so

— By the way, this was the phrase of Roma Kartsev, when, after the first performance in Odessa, a local cleaning lady told him, “Roma, everything is great, but you over-egg the pudding…”

Igor, let’s get to business, and first of all, thank you for calling. Referring your question about the Group, yes, this idea sprang out at the last board of directors.

It is clear that all our long known companies are affiliated with us. Therefore, formation of the Group is a natural process of development, moreover, a group of companies is also a convenient and always understandable thing.

In February, me and Cheriomushkin (P&PI Service Company) went to Italy to select a supplier for one of our businesses. At that time I deeply regretted that we had not created a group earlier.

GT can be interpreted based on the name of the Head Company — Gofro Technologies, as well as Grand Technology or Gran Turismo (because we fly a lot), as you wish

Meeting with foreign companies I had to hand in several business cards. This is me — here, and here, etc. It used to take time to explain who we are and what we do.

That is why, as soon as we came back, this problem was solved. Alexander Mangushev (Gofro Technologies Company) proposed the name GT GROUP, nobody objected, and we accepted it.

GT can be interpreted based on the name of the Head Company — Gofro Technologies, there were also options Grand Technology and even Gran Turismo, because we fly a lot — you may choose whatever you wish.

A couple of days ago I obtained our new business card, you will be the first one to see it. The logo shows flutes and a leaf.

The objects of the Group are simple — diversify our forces in more competent way, define strategic objectives and choose new directions, harmonize the work of divisions comprising the Group.

The composition is clear. It is Gofro Technologies headed by Alexander Mangushev.

P&PI Service (Pulp&Paper Industry Service) — Vladimir Cheriomushkin.

Petromash Service — Vladislav Trofimov.

And In Details — Anton Letuchiy.

Names for other divisions of the Group are also well known. The financial division is managed by Irina Petrova.

PR service, that you characterized so positively, is headed by Nadezhda Petrova.

On the one hand, there are the same persons on the arena, but on the other hand, a lot has changed.

Now we plan further development, our plans include opening new directions. So we can say that a new brand is being created.

Usually it is done like this: a new brand is created, the property of different companies is uploaded there, a holding is established, and then shares are issued, or it is sold. Are you going to do anything like that?

— We are not planning to sell anything so far. I think we will develop a little more, and when coming to the retirement age we will go to the IPO.

I’ve been watching your activities: you say it is your third decade on the market, I am also looking at you for the third decade. Marketing, as we have been taught, is market capturing. No one knows the exact translation of the word marketing in Russian, but this is what it is. Your capturing of the market was similar to the way Alexander Matrosov threw himself onto the embrasure of the German bunker in WWII. Since the moment I visited your workshop

— We were then located at the PodyemTransMash plant producing cranes. As far as I know, it was the only such plant in Russia…

— I was shocked by that.

— It was ruined by bad people. But not by us, not by us… (laughs). We helped it as much as we could.

And with those machines that you were making — flexo printing as far as I understand (there were some large rolls and trolleys there), you entered the market. But you could not compete, because, on the one hand, you were being restrained by the top brands BHS and Bobst, which had entered the market long ago and gained a firm foothold; on the other hand, the Chinese began to enter, Jingshan also entered almost uncontested.

And when you started trying to capture the market — I remember the Transpack brand appeared, I saw a golden plaque in your office — I thought, wow, you already represent some kind of huge Chinese association.

And there you came in from the Chinese side. Then you changed the brand — founded a new company, then created Gofro Technologies, tried to enter the market with top equipment.

I thought, well, how would they come in here, with Fosber, especially with Celmacch. I just looked at it and thought: impossible! But a few years later, a marketing miracle happened. Therefore, today your experience can be sold — just the experience, not even turnovers.

And from this workshop, where you yourselves were producing the equipment, you came to the best, coolest and most modern turnkey factories. Unquestioning reputation. This is already a book, Misha, think, maybe you will write a book and sell it.

— You did a quick cruise through, in two and a half minutes you practically painted our entire history…

Firstly, thank you very much for remembering everything perfectly. I listened and, indeed, everything was like that.

Let’s start with the fact that in our business one soldier does not make a battle. There was always a team at my side, so I always say — we did.

Everything that we have today, from the late 90s to 2020, is our real capital, a long way of trial and error.

No matter how pretentious it may sound, but this is the way it is. We entered the market in the late 90s with Petromash, where we produced our own equipment, when the domestic market had already taken shape.

At that time, slotters were already being made in Kaliningrad, and they were fantastically reliable. And there was FlexoPack company in Moscow that did flexo printing.

When we entered the market we had about ten competitors. But we squeezed in somehow.

The Transpack business was remote, we actually lived for it, but even our best efforts were not enough

At that time, late 90s — early 2000s, Sasha Mangushev and Vladimir Cheriomushkin practically did not leave the workshops, inventing new machines and modernizing old ones.

I was dealing with selling and promoting those machines to the market. I think it was then that the foundation of today’s Group was laid.

Only in Astrakhan there were two institutes that produced equipment for the Russian Federation. Those were Mr. Sabantsev with Mr. Koloev (ASTRNIIB) and Mr. Osipov, who is no more alive, may he rest in peace.

Just then we bought corrugator drawings from him and tried to assemble a unit. We managed that. At the turn of 2002, several corrugators and more than one hundred machines of various levels had already been made — and then we ran into a problem: China began to enter the market.

That is, when we achieved some kind of recognition and our capacities were packed for a year ahead, we had to think about starting something new again…

At that time we sold a whole corrugated plant with a corrugator to be manufactured by us to Dmitry Sherstnev, the head of Europack.

But when a year later our equipment was ready for him, we had to replace it with Chinese equipment, since it was certainly better.

During that short period, we actually turned from manufacturers to suppliers. Then there was the era of Transpack, as you rightly said, it was 2005.

How did it occur to you to start a Chinese company?

— It was our idea — and, as the whole our later life showed, a very successful one.

We came up with this brand and united the best Chinese manufacturers under it.

Pavel Anatolievich Terekhov — an excellent man — was our partner at that time.

However, in 2010 we parted with him, and there were reasons for that, but at that stage our trio worked great. I send him my heartiest thanks.

At that time we worked as a so-called filter. Only the equipment that passed our quality control department entered Russia.

Two years later, at the Shanghai exhibition, if you remember, in four large pavilions, we had about 10 branded factories that were happy to display our logo.

They were under the Transpack sign, this sign was next to their brands

— The Transpack sign was even bigger than brands of some plants.

We took the best from each plant, tried to ensure good service — after all, we practically lived there.

Alexander, as far as I remember, simply did not get out of China. He made dozens of trips a month.

We continued to grow, organized an office. And at the stage when the office in Shanghai became larger than the office in St. Petersburg, we decided to start winding it up — and just then certain disagreements arose.

We were young, ambitious, I personally wanted to sell to the whole world. Initially we thought that the parent company would be in China, because then we were already making supplies to Pakistan, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland.

We participated in all exhibitions, the brand could be promoted further, but for some reason this did not happen.

Was it eventually a matter of disagreement between the founders?

— No, there was agreement between us. The thing is that a man can do no more than he can. Returning to your question, the same thing happened when you called me and said: “Misha, what shall I do with the amount of your news?”

It was the same story. The business was remote and we lived for it, but even our best efforts were not enough.

Therefore, we decided, and now time has shown that we were right, not to make a revolution in other countries, but to step up our efforts here in Russia.

Now let us go on from Transpack to the moment when Gofro Technologies was established in 2007.

Then we decided to start special projects (Ilim, PP&PC, Arkhbum, etc.), about which we have already been contacted. In course of time customers and partners used to become our friends. Because during each contract we lived a small life together.

We often heard something like Hey guys, we are already tired, we don’t need Chinese equipment even for free. We have already grown up, we are satisfied with working with you, but if you don’t offer anything better, we will do on our own.

So at that time, we identified a pool of domestic companies that wanted to cooperate with us. We only had to find some reliable brands for which we could put our head on the block — there is such an expression in English.

And that’s when we found the first diamond, TCY. It was 2002 — early 2003, and we still haven’t regretted a bit about it.

How many times have people tried to make us walk out on them! Now it is no longer a secret — this was Dongfang, with which we had a cooperation contract signed on their part, and Emba with Mr. Berg — I personally went for negotiations with him, but in any case we had to part with TCY.

We said that we didn’t sell friends, if you wanted to work, then we should go together with TCY.

At that time TCY, of course, was lying on its side, a bunch of different problems, the breach of two brothers. But it survived! Just at that time, the star of LMC, that separated from the TCY parent company, rose in Russia, and they very competently seized the market.

When we entered Russia with TCY, the score was, in my opinion, 34:0 — 34 LMC lines against 0 ours, and no one knew TCY in Russia.

And by 2009, after about 7 years, we became equal in terms of supplies. Now a little less than 100 TCY machines are installed in Russia. And the first delivery was made to Viktor Mayevsky (BM&K AQUAPAK, Minsk), God bless him. He believed in us.

The next delivery was made to the company, the photo of which you see behind me — Europack believed in us.

And again, time has shown that everything was done absolutely correctly, because today Europack has already undergone the fourth modernization and it has taken its place in the hands of a worthy manager — in the diamond necklace of the Arkhbum company.

Then there was Agnati. For about 1.5 years we made love with them in a contraceptive. This is when there is movement, but no progress, you know?

— No fertilization?

— Absolutely like that. Because most of the time we spent trying to convince the Agnati family that we are real boys and that we can.

I think they did not believe and, perhaps, still do not believe that they can enter the Russian market.

— They had to believe it. Because all our subsequent activities showed that in what we told them there was only common sense, life experience and self-belief.

In our company, Alexander Mangushev, as a technically-minded person with intuition, is responsible for choosing a supplier, then we think about strategy together. In 2004, we decided on Agnati and for several months I was visiting them personally.

At the time Agnati was familiar to everybody. It was practically the only company that produced heavy-duty corrugators. Fosber, Marqip, BHS were very far from the top back then.

But I was perplexed by the fact that we had been discussing work issues for a very long time — instead of doing the job, the time was spent on bureaucracy. In this way we came to one of the exhibitions in Moscow, where we performed together with Agnati. The Fosber booth was next door to ours.

It was in 2005, maybe in 2006. In Shanghai I met Mr. Gunnar Prucker, he was one of the leading representatives of Fosber at the time. But we were just friends, the question of representing them in Russia never arised.

When we came up with Agnati, we, unfortunately, stopped talking to him, because we had actually betrayed our friendship. I remember that at that stage we even stopped greeting each other.

And again, by way of chance, Yuri Vasilyevich Aivazov — a wonderful, intelligent, well-informed person, at that time the director of Ilim Gofra, came to our exhibition stand. It was, in my opinion, five minutes to six, the exhibition was closing.

He called on us, perhaps, as fellow homies, and, being a laconic man usually, said, like, well, how did it happen that you, guys, have chosen devil knows what?

I tried to understand what he was asking about — and it turned out that he was talking about Agnati. I said, so could you as a senior comrade give us an advise, guide us. He answered, take Fosber, or have you no guts for it?

And then I took a liter of vodka and went with Gunnar to a restaurant: he from one side of the exhibition hall and I from the other one, so that nobody would see us. Yes, that was me who was delegated from our modest tandem for these negotiations.

We had about 6 or 7 questions to him, and we solved them in 15 minutes and signed a contract on the napkin just there in the restaurant.

As a result, what I and Michael Schmiedt (Agnati’s Sales Director) were negotiating for several months, Gunnar and I agreed almost instantly.

I think that the point here was not vodka, of course, simply Gunnar saw our potential capabilities. Then we two met with Carlo Silvestre, may he rest in peace, one of the shareholders of Fosber, and developed a strategy that turned out to be correct…

Soon we sold two Fosber corrugators in Russia at once — to the Perm P&PC and YuzhUralKarton.

At first, the second unit was planned for TechnoNIKOL, they had already bought a piece of land in Yemanzhelinsk, but YuzhUralKarton forced the events and developed faster, and it became clear that two corrugated plants would not go side by side.

This is how Fosber entered Russia, and we worked together well for several years. Then young reformers came to Fosber, Gunnar was sent to Poland as an agent, and we parted with Fosber for a couple of years — that was some grayish time for both our friendship and the existence of Fosber in Russia.

We started to deal with Mitsubishi. We saw that this was a really strong brand. And again, we can talk about this for a long time, but it was during our period of cooperation that the first MHI lines entered the Russian market — with prices 1.5 times higher than European ones.

We worked with Giovanni Bettini, exhibited together, used joint stands as a platform for familiarization. They passed us all the technical data of their lines and all the presentations.

As a result, the first line went to Ussuriysk, the second one — to Naberezhnye Chelny, the third one — to Europack.

At that stage, the fourth modernization of Europack was planned, and we went to Japan with Igor Bondar, the owner of the plant, Alexander Mangushev, and Dmitry Sherstnev, the ideological inspirer of this project and the last general director of the plant (now Dmitry Vladimirovich’s wife Irina is heading the business and does it equally remarkably, sensitively and responsibly).

Bondar initially planned to buy a corrugator and two Japanese conversion lines from Mitsubishi. At the same time, MHI equipment was planned for Kropotkin, the Kuban Cardboard Factory, even an advance payment was made.

But due to certain events, this did not happen — we learned some secrets which we would better not talk about.

And just then at one of the exhibitions in Munich we again met and had a friendly conversation with Massimiliano Bianchi, the CEO of Fosber.

At that time, their sales in Russia stopped, and BHS was very happy about that. I remember the afterparty in Arkhbum, when Rudolf Hammer, BHS Sales Director, now retired, asked me why we parted ways with Fosber.

For this reason, BHS sprang up again in Russia — because no one could really explain what Fosber was. In order to sell a product, you need to know it, and no one knew it better than us.

Fosber’s last sale was to SFT Group. We made a presentation, that is, we sold the unit de facto, and de jure the sale fell on the Moscow office. And, in fact, that’s it.

At that stage, Fosber in Russia actually ceased to exist. Nobody could really convey how reliable and powerful this equipment was, and in general what kind of team it was. And Fosber is exactly the team: while cooperating with them you become friends.

It’s nice that the Fosber management was snapping back to reality, they saw that everything was fine, and then became worse. Our relationship with Mitsubishi also reached a deadlock, and we decided to return to Fosber, we were offered good conditions.

When on Fosber‘s invitation we visited the U.S., we felt their full power — the entire American staff of the company gathered at the huge stadium.

Fosber has five branches in the USA, while all machines are assembled in Italy. Green Bay, Wisconsin is only their repairing and manufacturing base.

When Alexander and I were presented to the audience, the Americans stood up and began to applaud — they knew what work we had done, we actually broke the wall. Prior to that, for 20 years, no other corrugators than BHS entered Russia.

If with TCY we started with a score of 34:0, then with Fosber the score was even higher — about 40 units and not a single Fosber. Now Fosber has taken rightful place in our market, which it had deserved long time ago.

For example, the last two sales were made again to SFT Group, which were satisfied having bought Fosber‘s dry end. They had experience with BHS, but Fosber was the next purchase for Aleksinskaya BKF.

At this factory, they plan to produce about 300 mln sq.m/year, that is, 150 mln is just for the first unit. For our part, we will do everything so that their second corrugator would be Fosber again.

The same story, by the way, was at Europack, whose management deliberately chose Fosber. The installation of this unit was carried out by specialists from Arkhbum, and I saw the eyes of Sergei Yuryevich Shulgan, the Head of the Technical Department of this company.

During a telephone conversation with the owner he said that it was an absolutely remarkable machine.

And if earlier he treated Fosber with prejudice, then after looking at the unit and talking with his engineers who installed and commissioned it, he said that he had completely changed his mind about this manufacturer. I heard these very words, because I was present there.

This is our life, in which nothing fell to us from the sky. But, first of all, it is a huge work of Italian guys, designers, constructors, a huge work of a huge team.

We just transfer information to the manufacturers of paper and corrugated board in our market. And we simply choose the right partners.

We had a similar story with TCY and Asahi. In the latter case, the Japanese mentality got in the way. Somewhere it really works great, and this is a strong point, but in the case of sales in CIS market, it was very difficult for us.

It is known that Asahi has three subsidiaries (branches) — separate factories that produce machines. Those are a plant in Foshan near Hong Kong — Nantai, a plant in Seoul, South Korea, and a plant directly in Japan, Osaka.

Until recently, in order not to compete, they shared production by width of machines.

Now they have changed this system, and each plant can produce any width, because, by and large, there is only one storage for everything.

We started our cooperation with the Nantai factory, supplied their folding units and rotors, wonderful machines, by the way. In total we have delivered more than 30 units.

Nantai’s die-cutters were expensive, because the quality obliged, and we could not possibly have entered the market with them. But then we managed to do it.

Today, domestic corrugated board manufacturers are already getting inside the machines and want to understand what they are buying. In this we see one of our missions, too — to cultivate good taste in customers.

If we are talking about winemaking, there are such things as perlage — from the French perle — a pearl, a blend, vintage, tannin balancing. We tried to do the same in our industry, to explain that one shall not buy a cheap product, but needs to look at its quality.

Quality and price category of the Nantai die-cutters are equal to Dongfang machines, which also have a flatbed die-cutter plant. Frankly speaking, this is also a very good factory — practically the best one in China.

And so we managed to sell several machines. In the beginning, we tried to do this through Germany, because we were sent to the German office of Asahi. But the prices were unaffordable, and we could not break through this market in any way.

For two years we did our best to squeeze in, and only after 10 machines sold did the Japanese become interested in us.

The fact is that at that time they did not need us to feel great. They are still monopolists in Southeast Asia, where there are no Bobsts at all (or, to be exact, they cover about 3-4% of the market), there are no BHSs.

We come to a factory in China — and see 16 Asahi flatbed die-cutters working. This is a fairy show, and why should they go anywhere at all as they completely cover Japan, Singapore, Malaysia? They have enough.

Of course, European manufacturers make use of this, because flatbed die-cutters are unique machines. Due to the fact that there is a huge multi-ton pressure on the frame, low quality machines simply break.

Three machines from a Taiwanese manufacturer, delivered to domestic enterprises a while ago, simply cracked — one in Lipetsk, another in Rostov, the third one in Siberia — that’s the end of the story.

Such machines shall not be assembled from low-quality material. Therefore, today the whole world is actually divided by two companies — Bobst and Asahi, the latter we represent.

Then, at the time of the 10th machine, Kohei Takahashi, the president of Asahi, visited us and was happy for our success. We managed to agree about cooperation, and now we have excellent relations. We have already delivered about 25 Asahi flatbed die-cutters to the market.

The recent machines were for Arkhbum, Ilim and GOTEK, the top companies.

We made a report from Ilim-Kommunar, where an Asahi die-cutter follows a Celmacch printing machine. By the way, this was your first Celmacch in the CIS, wasn’t it?

— Yes… We put our heart into Celmacch too. They are also our wonderful Italians, and we adore them.

Gunnar Prucker introduced us to this company. About 5 years ago, they were just starting their rise. It is a family company that has been on the market for about 40 years.

In the beginning, they took old Bobst machines, refurbished them and sold with a guarantee. This is how they fully learned the secrets of the future competitor.

As far as I know, this was the case with Muhammad Ali and Larry Holmes, who was his sparring partner. Then, if I’m not confusing anything, Holmes took the title from Ali.

And now the same story happened when Celmacch that actually had grown up on Bobst took away a lot of their orders in Europe.

The purchase of this machine by Ilim and Arkhbum marks a strategic direction to the south. Arkhbum-Voronezh is the largest plant not only in Russia, but it can make the five top largest plants in the world.

For Ilim, this is International Paper‘s choice. They have an excellent relationship with Celmacch, and this choice was made not by a local manager, but by the top management. Therefore, we are especially pleased and honored that companies of such a high rank chose Celmacch.

Speaking about Asahi, I would especially note the supply to GOTEK. This project is interesting because the flatbed die-cutter there is in line with TCY printing machine. Time has shown that they were absolutely right making this pick, because the quality of the products absolutely satisfies the consumers.

I must also mention Smurfit Kappa. A two-meter wide Asahi entered the Moscow-SOYUZ company. At the time, without our involvement, Smurfit Kappa Group at once purchased six Asahi machines for its factories.

At one of the exhibitions Jaanus Kipp, the head of Smurfit Kappa in Russia, came to our booth and said that their company did not tender for flat presses at all. That is, they are so happy with Asahi that they do not invite other companies, but immediately place an order.

— Misha, tell us about the PM in Khakassia.

— They have a triple-wire machine, a very interesting one. But you have to understand who is the owner there — you know, jack is as good as his master.

Volodya (Vladimir Skamarokha, Director of the Abakan Paper Mill. — Ed.) has long dreamed of this machine. He bought an old Rostovbumaga PM from Roma Fomenko, the Director General of Donskaya Gofrotara, for peanuts, at the price of scrap metal, thrown himself into this work, but endured everything.

For three years he lived with no sleep, but showed Siberian, Khakass never-say-die attitude — and withstood, pulled through it. After that he said that the machine helped him survive, like that cow in the old joke.

Then he started another project, changed the stock preparation, purchased a new machine. Now he certainly reached the success, and I am sure that it is on such people that not only Khakassia, but also our whole country rests.

I can say the same about all the other guys in Siberia — they are great fellows, just wonderful people.

Speaking about our projects for the pulp and paper industry, I cannot but mention new directions — these are disposable tableware, nonwoven materials and, of course, what P&PI-Service inherited from Petromash — equipment for production of cast containers.

Yuri Yuryevich Skhomenko in Siberia has one of the largest companies (Sibtara Company, Barnaul), having installed three such machines.

In addition to that, several projects were implemented in Ulyanovsk at TEHMA owned by Ilya Vladimirovich Akritsky.

I think it would be good if we talk with your guys on each direction, make a block of interviews. There are a lot of projects, and I have a lot of questions.

You represented Leizhan stock preparation at RosUpack last year. This is probably a separate topic of your new directions.

— Igor, I agree with you, a man can do no more than he can. Therefore, we made a solution already, we will make a separate interview with P&PI-Service, where we will talk about everything: Leizhan, and all other partners, and the company’s projects.

P&PI-Service shows good results, we would like to sustain the momentum, therefore we focus our attention on its activities. The credit of trust given by our partners is very valuable to us and we would like to extend it.

I have a bunch of calls here, you and I, Igor, have talked too long. In general, I wonder whether someone will watch us at all.

I also think it’s time to call it a day. We will make a series — for example, five sets of interviews, and we will call the series Fosber, Asahi, Vega

— Yes, Igor, thank you for reminding me about Vega, you could really make a separate film about this company. Trust me, it is worth doing.

Over the past few years, it has been steadily breaking sales records. In particular, in Europe, having significantly squeezed out such recognized authorities in the multipoint folder-gluers’ market as Bobst and Bahmüller.

Russia has long been recognized as a superpower in the political horizon, and we are pleased that today we are increasingly integrating into the world paper community.

Supply of high class equipment speaks volumes about this. Arkhbum specialists at two sites, in Voronezh and Obukhov, as well as Ilim specialists in Kommunar and Dmitrov have already appreciated its quality.

It is also pleasant that our distant regions are not lagging behind and are reaching for the leaders. Today, Vega products are used in the Urals at the YuzhUralKarton, and in the Siberian region at Mr. Tomilov’s site (Bolotninskaya Gofrotara).

I wish you, as well as all our viewers and readers, a speedy end to the pandemic. By the way, have you any pandemic business, don’t you make masks, by chance?

— While you were thinking what other needles to put under my nails and in what way to sting me, I remembered: you see, we have not said anything about the WSA!

This is a separate topic, which, I think, should also become a subject. Because these South Koreans just exploded the market.

There is no stop to you. Let’s try to follow directions. And then move separately — to each project.

— I understand, Igor, you are killing me now as an interviewer, but others will stand ready to pick up the challenge. Mangushev will add some fuel to the fire. And get ready for a big fly in the ointment — interview for hours. With me it was easy (laughs).

Referring the pandemic. No, we didn’t do any business on it. Certainly, we incurred losses, both emotional and material.

First, I sympathize and condole with all people who have lost relatives or friends in it. Secondly, I believe that the coronavirus means intrigues of certain circles, a man-made story.

It seems to me that in the near future, in four or six weeks, we will have the parade, and all restaurants will open again. People will forget their home-seating, all these prohibitions. Yes, mask demand will be increased, people will wash their hands more often, but they will not stop greeting and hugging each other.

Some businesses, of course, were affected by the pandemic to a greater extent — restaurants, tourism — but this shake-up was needed, and whatever happens, happens for the best. This is one of my credos and this is what really works, I can honestly say that.

This is a test for the country on how many banknotes it can roll into its economy at a critical moment. Of course, it is easier for the overseas partners, because they make those banknotes out of thin air, while we need to sell something to get dollars …

— Misha, thank you, it was very interesting, you told us many news.

— Everything was life-giving. How to say “life-giving” in Ukrainian?

So it will be — «life-giving». This is a Ukrainian word, Misha.

— Then I wish that the two of our wonderful, glorious people would quickly unite, so that those who are trying to push us against each other would burn in hell, so that all this would end faster. Because someone needs all this, needs us to break each other’s heads — same as the pandemic.

— We have got a different business, we do not make money on that.

— We deviated somewhere again…

— So long, dear friend.

Future. Who knows what it will be like? GT GROUP. We are ahead of our time and provide the services of the future. Recognized experts in the pulp and paper industry. Prompt delivery of innovation-based and high-tech equipment from the world’s leading manufacturers.

Petromash Service. Has been on the market since 1996. Focused on equipment and components supply from Central and Southeast Asia. Provides technical support and servicing for all types of equipment supplied. More than 100 modernizations of various levels in the Russian Federation and the CIS countries. We work 24/7, providing a continuous supply and maintenance.

Gofro Technologies. Has been on the market since 2007. Specialization — comprehensive support at all stages of investment projects for creation of the key corrugated board production facilities. Optimization of in-shop logistics when installing premium equipment and designing transport systems from leading suppliers from Europe, America, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan. Advanced technologies from proven leaders in the industry.

We solve any problems in corrugated board production, starting from the zero cycle. Dozens of the largest turnkey projects of European level in Russia and the CIS countries. Improvement of quantity and quality indicators at such sites as Arkhbum, Ilim, Mondi, Gotek, Smurfit Kappa, SFT Group and many others.

P&PI-Service. Has been on the market since 2010. Deals with supply and maintenance of equipment for waste paper recycling. Offers a wide range of machines and accessories for the paper industry. And for making nonwoven products. Solves paper production problems of any complexity, including improvement of all technical indicators. Regularly implements projects at both regional and federal scale.

Can get involved in the work at any process stage — from the stock preparation to the finished roll wrapping, including installation of paper machines, transport and packaging lines and slitters. Leading supplier of equipment for production of disposable tableware and cast containers in the Russian Federation and CIS countries. The company has built the largest factories in Solnechnogorsk, Kaliningrad, Nizhny Novgorod, Ulyanovsk, Barnaul.

In Details. Has been on the market since 2014. Specialization — supply of spare parts and consumables. Availability of in-house storage facilities provides time saving, guarantees quick delivery of necessary components, parts and assemblies, ensuring high-quality service and smooth plant operation. The group interacts with all the world’s leading suppliers and, if required, provides the highest level services just in time.

The goal of the Group: quick and effective solution of all tasks for paper and cardboard manufacturers, industry development, creation of new production facilities, implementation of innovation-based technologies, financial flexibility and customer-oriented approach. These are the principles used by GT GROUP as guidance in its work.


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