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Ranbaxy stakes claim on African drugs production market with new Moroccan plant

By Natalie Morrison+

14-Mar-2012

Generics and API maker Ranbaxy has opened a plant in Casablanca, Morocco in a bid to strengthen its foothold in the “increasingly important” North African drugs market.

The move is not the Indian-based company’s first foray into the region. The new plant, which will produce tablets and dry syrups, is its third on the continent with the other two being located in Nigeria and South Africa.

And with African sales up 23 per cent, hitting $189m (€144.4m) in 2011, the firm says it is staking its claim on an “under saturated” market that will only increase.

Director of corporate communications, Raghu Kochar, told in-Pharmatechnologist.com the facility means direct access to the local manufacturing market, adding:  “In addition to servicing the Morocco market, Ranbaxy plans to extend the supply from this manufacturing unit to other African countries, in the coming years.”

He added: “Ranbaxy already has a strong presence in Africa. In addition the three manufacturing plants, we have five subsidiaries, five representative offices and a strong workforce of nearly 1000 people, Ranbaxy’s caters to 44 of the 54 countries in this continent.”

The firm says it will largely target the local market through its new factory, with plans to make drugs in the therapeutic fields most common to African countries, including ARV (anti-retroviral) and anti-infectives. It will also make haematinics and cardiology meds.

Ready for take-off

The news follows a stream of reports of companies establishing a base in Africa.

In February there were strong rumours Swiss pharma giant Lonza had inked a deal with the South African government over a new $210m API (active pharmaceutical ingredient) plant. And last October OCIL expanded its Ugandan HIV production in a bid to boost the industry.

A mumbai based analyst told Reuters: "The African market is not saturated and hence, generic drugmakers have good business opportunity there.

"The unit will help Ranbaxy push sales significantly over the next 24 months."

Those in the know seem to echo the sentiment that African Covernments’ recent efforts to tempt more manufacturers to put down roots in the region is the key reason for the flood of developments there.

Danadams CEO Yaw Adu Gyamfi recently told us a new $1bn investment fund in a bid to produce 60 per cent of South Africa’s drugs locally is exactly the type of establishment drawing in drugsmakers.

However he said governments need to dedicate more funds to attract the business if they want to see a real success story.

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