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July 05, 1996 - Image 53

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1996-07-05

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

UN

year the couple also founded
Pharmaclinic, which now im-
ports products from Japan and
Korea, and whose operations
were combined with Shall-
pharm's in 1994.
All the subsidiaries together,
including the Rekah Pharma-
ceutical Industry, are known un-
der the name of Rekah and
employ 150 workers.
"I love competitors, but we
were much better than the oth-
ers in terms of service, price and
personality," says Mr. Elgrably.
'e cooperate with our clients; I
know everybody by their name;
I know their wives' names and
their children's names."
Having revamped the phar-
maceutical factory, the firm now
produces 80 different types of
medicine. In 1995, it reached an
agreement with Teva Pharma-
ceutical Industries for the acqui-
sition of know-how, production
rights and permission to use the
product names of 37 medicines
manufactured by Teva.
Rekah now produces those 37
medicines, giving Teva 9 percent
royalty; Rekah is also the exclu-
sive distributor of Ahava and
Wella products to pharmacies in
Israel.
Their highest profits are
reached with imported medi-
cines, which in 1994 constitut-
ed 39 percent of its gross profits;
locally manufactured medicines
(excluding Rekah products) made
up 20 percent of its gross profits,
cosmetics 21 percent, paramed-
ical products 14 percent, and toi-
let and baby products 6 percent.
/ _Th Brother Ya'acov is the director
of Shallpharm, brother Michael
manages Ophir, youngest broth-
er Asher is sales manager and
sister Yaffa Nahmani runs the
original pharmacy in Ashdod.
One of the reasons for Mr. El-
grably's success, says Jerusalem-
! based Mediplus Pharmacies
owner and longtime client Moshe
Hevroni, is his direct involvement
with the pharmacists.
Mordechai Elgrably, says Mr.
Hevroni, sees things from the
pharmacists' point of view and
sits in on planning and financial
meetings. In addition, he helps
the small-neighborhood phar-
macists with their ad and spe-
cial-offer campaigns, enabling
them to compete with the larger
chains. He has been smart
enough not to swallow all the
profits but to pass some of them
on to the pharmacists.
`That's hard to compete with,"
says Mr. Hevroni.
Tragedy struck the family just
when they were gearing up to
open their newly modernized fac-
tory. In August 1994, their old-
est son, Udi, 22, was killed in
Lebanon.
Suddenly their whole world
was turned upside down.
"Udi was very proud of what
we had built by hard work," says
Mr. Elgrably. "He got to see the

new factory just before we opened
it, and he was very happy. Then
our lives became chaos. Every-
thing was black and nothing
seemed important anymore. It
was very difficult to continue."
Nevertheless, after the shiva,
Mr. Elgrably threw himself into
his work from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m.
It was a form of therapy, he says.
And he was helped by the work-
ers' care and dedication. Where-
as before they gave 100 percent,
after Udi's death they gave 150
percent, he says.
That same year the Elgrablys
decided to take their company
public to raise funds for more de-
velopment. They floated 27 per-
cent of their shares for $3 million,
nearly half of which was bought
up by American pharmaceutical.
producer Ivax, whose annual
sales last year totaled $1.26 bil-
lion.
"They wanted to be partners
with us in Israel," says Mr. El-
grably, who together with Geor-
gette still holds 70 percent of the
shares. The remaining 3 percent
were bought collectively by 50 of
the pharmacists who work with
the firm.
Mordechai Elgrably now hopes
to find a way of doing big busi-
ness in Israel with Ivax and still
feel he is in charge. "I don't want
to lose the right to develop the
company as I would like, but an
opportunity to work with an in-
ternational company of this size
doesn't come along every day."
Ivax is not the only big con-
cern interested in Rekah, ac-
cording to Mr. Elgrably, who
says he has had inquiries from
leaders in the local pharmaceu-
tical industry. From Ivax, at any
rate, he hopes to gain techno-
logical know-how, and he has
dreams of becoming involved on
a larger scale in importing and
exporting products. He plans to
sell more shares of Rekah, but
only in a few years' time, when
he feels the stock market is
stronger, he says.
Although post-election media
reports indicated that some for-
eign investors seemed skittish
about projects in Israel, Mr. El-
grably says he was certain the
economy would not be affected
negatively. "I think this fear has
been exaggerated," he says. "It is
true that with the Labor gov-
ernment there were economic in-
vestments, but in other sectors
there were problems. After the
terrorist attacks there. would
have been more reason for for-
eign investors not to invest."
Meanwhile, he will continue
making plans for the future. Hav-
ing carefully thought-out plans,
he says, is the only way to reach
goals.
"In life generally and in busi-
ness particularly, you have to
know where you want to be in 10
years' time," he says. "And you
cannot zigzag if you want those
following you to trust you."



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