Giannakopoulos Group: Reaching the Top with Vision and Values

SEP-OCT 2016|BY RAYMOND MATERA
Dimitris P. Giannakopoulos, Vice-President & Deputy CEO of VIANEX SA, speaks to Business Partners about the exceptional presence the Giannakopoulos Group has in Greece and how its expanding portfolio of business interests is leading to an even stronger market dominance.

Dimitris P. Giannakopoulos


The Group spans a wide range of activities. What are the diverse interests of the Group?

The pharmaceutical branch is the flagship of the Giannakopoulos Group. It plays a leading role in Greek pharmaceutical production with its companies VIANEX SA and VIAN SA, and has recently entered the food supplement sector by acquiring a 50% holding in SUPERFOODS.

The Group has also expanded in the media sector with CNN.gr and DPG Digital Media. Finally, Panathinaikos Basketball Club; the history and successes of the team are closely linked to the Giannakopoulos family.

In the pharmaceutical sector, how do Vianex and Vian operate in today’s demanding market?

Despite the adverse economic environment and the blow suffered by the Greek pharmaceutical industry, we have insisted on pursuing our vision in Greece and strengthening the Greek economy. VIANEX SA operates four state-of-the-art plants producing medicinal products for Greece and foreign countries. It promotes 100 million packages of 400 different pharmaceutical products in Greece, Europe, China, Africa, Middle East and to the World Health Organization.

A new multi-annual agreement was also concluded this year, as a climax of our successful cooperation with MSD. In addition to that, VIAN SA, which focuses on products for pharmacies, has managed to increase its sales by 50%, by concluding important agreements, such as the one with Bristol-Myers Squibb for the distribution and promotion of the fever and pain relief line of DEPON’ products.

Panathinaikos is one of Greece’s most well-known and successful names. What is the vision for this top tier sport’s brand?

There is no need to introduce Panathinaikos Basketball Club. We aim to further strengthen the brand and add new titles to the history of the team.

In publishing, DPG is front and center in the digital domain. What are your brands and brand philosophy?

DPG Digital Media is the leading network in the Greek digital domain. The DPG media are now widely accepted, based on official certified data from the Union of Online Publishers (ENED). The network of DPG cooperating sites includes: CNN.gr, Newsbomb.gr, Queen.gr, Gossip-tv.gr, Onsports.gr, Onmed.gr, Mothersblog.gr, Astrology.gr, Culturenow.gr and Leoforos.gr. In the last two years, despite the unstable economic environment, the company has progressed dynamically through constant investment in top-level human resources and new products and services.

In the context of that development strategy, DPG Digital Media brought CNN.gr to Greece in November 2015, which is the Greek online version of the largest news brand in the world. CNN.gr was created to meet the ever-increasing need of people for objective and unbiased news coverage about what is happening in Greece and all over the globe.

In addition, SUPERFOODS markets a wide range of products. Tell us about SUPERFOODS and that market.

Expansion to fields that are similar to that of medicinal products, such as food supplements, is part of the strategic plan of the Giannakopoulos Group. We decided to invest in SUPERFOODS together with the Papazoglou Group, to provide Greek consumers with pioneering products, by utilizing the special expertise of both families and the excellent portfolio of SUPERFOODS. This is a 6 million Euro investment, to create new jobs and bring new revenue to the public treasury.

How are you proceeding currently, during a time of crisis and challenge?

The environment in which we have to carry out our business activity could be even called hostile—in addition to the impact of the economic crisis affecting the production sectors to a greater or lesser extent, the pharmaceutical industry also has to deal with the health policies adopted because of the MoUs entered into by the Greek government.

The sustainability of the Greek pharmaceutical industry has been on the line for some time now due to measures that entail constant price cuts in older, established and cost-effective medicinal products in particular, as well as huge refunds resulting from rebate and clawback arrangements. Unless an end is put to this policy, which is disastrous for the Greek pharmaceutical production and has not yielded its intended results, Greek pharmaceutical companies will not be able to absorb the shocks and adapt to the unpleasantly surprising conditions resulting from time to time.

Today, is it vital to combine human resources with technological capacities?

Firstly, it should be stressed that this is a highly productive, investment-intensive sector. Scientific research and innovation are an integral part of pharmaceutical production, along with keeping up-to-date with technological advances. Despite the economic crisis, VIANEX SA has kept investing in quality, production equipment, plant upgrades and pioneering technologies, also retaining its human resources, consisting of 1,200 workers.

And how do you see the future of the Group, given the challenging environment, in Greece, Europe and the greater region?

In view of our 92-year-long background in the production of Greek medicinal products, we can be absolutely certain that VIANEX SA will maintain its leading position in the Greek pharmaceutical industry, while at the same time boosting its export activity by adding new markets and products to its portfolio.

My optimism is based on the fact that we have always been guided by the morals, values and vision of my father, Pavlos Giannakopoulos, and we intend to keep it that way all along. As regards the Media sector, DPG Digital Media has already been very successful during its six-year-long presence in the market, constantly pursuing innovation, focusing on the quality of the content and end product offered to Internet users. It is based on that vision and system of values and on the reward from our users who have helped us become leaders in the sector that we will go on pursuing the company’s strategic development plan.

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