Provet S.A. – Not a Shaggy Dog Story
Provet launched in the Greek animal health market over 40 years ago, becoming a major player in the region as a producer and distributor of animal care products. With its own range of products and a portfolio that included brands from a range of global players, it was a market leader.
This animal care product producer and distributor firm has seen its share of financial problems, but with a little investment, they have turned their story around to become an industry leader.
Manufacturing, trading and distributing veterinary medicinal products for livestock and small animals, as well as nutritional products for livestock and pet food and accessories for companion animals, the company’s portfolio is impressive.
Thanks to Provet S.A.’s know-how and its ability to manage its resources efficiently, it has become known as the benchmark for the veterinarian, the producer and the trader of the specialised distribution channel.
With a customer-orientated mentality and a focus on achieving the best possible care and welfare for animals, Provet S.A. has amassed a portfolio of over 100 registered trademarks while exporting products over 30 countries around the world.
However, while its offering and market position were strong, Provet also encountered obstacles.
“For 10-15 years after the economic crisis meant it had to suspend some of its business,” explains Nikos Savinos, Chief Financial Officer of Provet S.A. “Despite the crisis, the company continued manufacturing operations until 2020, when the company was about to close the doors to operations. It had liquidity problems with the bank and could not support production.”
A Worthy Investment
Fortunately, in November of 2020, an investment fund stepped in, achieving a court-approved deal with Provet’s creditors and injecting new capital into the business, saving the company and allowing it to continue operations.
“Production was uninterrupted and it took us back to growth from a position as a leader of the market that had previously been going bankrupt,” Savinos says. “I was hired around this time, alongside a new executive team.”
This new executive team is made up of 5 people including an Investment Director who works as the CEO of the company (Mr. Nikolay Chekalkin), the Vice Chairman (Mr. Sofoklis Rovis), a CFO (Mr. Nikos Savinos), a Commercial Director (Mr. Christos Mizikakis) and a Factory Director (Mr. Haris Lazaridis).
“We have a team of five people who run the operations of the business with a strategic line given by the investment fund,” Savinos explains. “The investment company has a track record for investment in Greek business and has some great turnaround stories.”
Despite the liquidity problems the company had run into, it is not hard to see why Provet S.A. was an appealing prospect for those investors.
“First of all, we are famous for our production quality. We have many years of experience in the field. We have our own labs and we provide a lot of quality controls in order to have the best quality of raw materials for pharmaceuticals,” Savinos says. “We are also a European company which means we can produce for European countries in line with their regulations. We are very flexible, with a very fast response time to new orders and new clients compared to industry standards, and serve a lot of gaps in the market.”
A Fresh Start
From that starting point, Provet S.A. has laid out an ambitious business plan that will see it consolidate and expand its leading market position.
“We are already one year into our business plan. The new investors will expand the company not just here but globally, cooperating with major players in the market,” Savinos tells us. “We are investigating and expanding into a lot of new markets around the world.”
The new markets Provet is moving into are not just geographical, the company is also expanding its service offering.
“We have developed new business units, we have a new testing lab providing lab services, as also new product lines in pet supplements and shampoos,” Savinos points out. “We offer blood exams for veterinarians, which has been very successful. We opened that this summer and it is certified to provide exams.”
The benefits of this new offering are manifold, as Savinos explains, “It’s a new income stream and a good way to be in direct communication with our clients as well.”
Provet S.A.’s resurgence is good news, not just for the company, but for the many people it employs and supports.
“One of the goals in retaining the company was to keep employees’ positions within the company,” Savinos says. “There are approximately 80 employees and we have retained the majority of them.”
Retaining Provet’s existing staff is only the beginning of the company’s ambitions, however.
“Although the company had its problems, we still want to grow to be bigger than before,” Savinos says. “We have created some management positions in the finance and sales department, most of the processes and structure are adjusted to improve the performance of the company.”
As well as bringing in new staff, Provet is also looking at investing in the people it has.
“The training we do now is based on the new tools we’ve developed for the sales team for manually ordering and communicating with clients,” says Savinos. “It takes the ordering process to digital for efficiency and speed. All these new things that we are producing we have specific training within our teams for. We’re also planning to do regular training inside the company around pharmaceuticals and animal health products.”
This training is necessary because of the ongoing transformation in how the company does business. Provet is completely changing its approach, digitalising the whole company.
“We are on the way to be a paperless company for invoicing and communication using the available tools, and we improve every day on this,” Savinos says proudly. “Our scope and vision for the future is to be a leader in the Balkan market, serving all countries around Greece but also acting as a global player. We are starting operations in Africa, and also, we are now proceeding to start operations in Russia and Latvia because our investment fund has investments there. We’ll expand globally and become a global player.”
Nikos Savinos, CFO & Nikolay Chekalkin, CEO of Provet S.A.