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Sopharma to invest BGN70m in new plant

By Gareth Macdonald , 09-Dec-2010

Bulgarian drugmaker Sopharma will invest BGN70m ($47m) in the construction of a new manufacturing plant in a further bid to drive export growth.

According to a Sofia News Agency report the facility, Sopharma’s thirteenth, will produce up to 100 different types of medication, have capacity to make four billion tablets a year and employ a workforce of 420 people.

Sopharma, which competes in Bulgaria’s BGN1.7bn a year drug market with Actavis, Novartis, Roche and Sanofi Aventis, saw sales climb 22 per cent to BGN138.6m and year-on-year profits grow 31 percent to BGN12.7 in the first six months of 2010.

However, while Sopharma did see a modest increase in market share over the period, the key growth driver was its export business, which increased by nearly a third over the six months to June 31.

Key markets in terms of sales growth were the US, up 23 per cent, Central Asia and the Caucasus, up 9 per cent and Singapore, which generated 5 per cent more revenue than the equivalent period in 2009.

The export and international revenue growth reflects the expansion effort Sopharma has undertaken over the last few years.

This process began a year and half ago Sopharma founded its US unit Extab, in a bid to win regulatory approval to sell its plant-derived smoking cessation aid, Tabex, in the world’s most lucrative drug market.

And, last April, the Bulgarian firm continued its expansion, entering the Austrian drug market with the launch of its neurological disease treatment Nivalin under the Nivaject brand name.

More recently, Sopharma unveiled plans to establish a new subsidiary in Poland and revealed that it is working to register its production operations and products with authorities in Finland and China.

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