A selection of case studies that demonstrate the vitality and diversity of the Belarus manufacturing sector.
BelAZ is a potent symbol of Belarus’ manufacturing prowess and a source of great national pride.
The 60-year-old state-owned company is the world’s leading producer of mining and quarrying vehicles, with a reputation for technological innovation and reliability as well as ease of use.
Its 12,000 skilled workers produce lorries, bulldozers and loaders, underground mining vehicles and even 320 tonne capacity quarry dump-trucks, the world’s largest.
Belaz’s excellence and global reputation has cemented a 95% share of the heavy-duty dump truck market in Russia and 30% worldwide, with exports to more than 70 countries including the CIS, Africa, Asia and China.
In 2008, from its factories in Zhodino, 40 km from Minsk, and in Mogilev, Belaz produced more than 2,000 vehicles, parts and accessories, worth $337m, up 10 per cent on 2007.
This increase in productivity followed two modernisation projects, which allowed it to computerise 80 per cent of its production process.
BelAZ is to be restructured into a joint stock company in late 2009 to help attract US $25 million of investment.
Minsk Automobile Works (MAZ) is one of the most recognised brands in Central and Eastern Europe.
Recognised for quality and reliability, the name has graced coaches, buses, lorries, cranes, emergency vehicles and military transport across the region for over 65 years.
Now the state-run company, which exports to 50 countries across three continents, has been converted into a joint stock company in anticipation of privatisation.
It is seeking a US $193 million investment to build four new production lines on a green-field site, with the aim of increasing its output of passenger buses from 1800 to 3000 a year.
MAZ is one of the biggest employers in Belarus, with 37,000 people working at its headquarters and main assembly plant in Minsk and at satellite facilities across the country. In 2009 its assets were valued at approximately US $1 billion following significant investment in its production lines.
The management has experience of working with a foreign investor: in 1997 it entered a partnership with German firm MAN and makes haulage trucks under the MAZ-MAN brand.
As a world leader in the manufacture of optical lenses, Belomo demonstrates the high skill levels and technological innovation which are characteristic of Belarus’ manufacturing base.
Belomo was set up in 1973 as a mainstay of the Soviet Union’s military complex, and produced high specification military lenses until Belarus’ independence.
In the early 1990s the firm re-balanced its efforts towards the civilian markets and formed a joint venture with German optic producer Zeiss in 1995. This spin-off, based in a manufacturing facility in Belarus, manufactures microscopes for medical uses and eye retina examination lamps across the world.
Today Belomo’s 7,000 staff produce optical equipment for medical use, night vision goggles and laser sights for the military, sophisticated gas meters and even a brake system for lorries. Its reputation for quality is such that its exports reach the European Union, North America, the Middle East and China.
Since the 1990s Belomo has doubled its output and become increasingly profitable. It recorded 14% annual growth in 2008 and an increase in year-on-year profits of 22%.
On the back of such success Belomo was identified for privatisation by the Belarusian government and turned into a joint stock company in 2009 to seek international investment.