CAPE TOWN - South Africa’s largest pharmaceutical group and JSE-listed company, Aspen Pharmacare has launched a R1 billion high containment manufacturing facility in Port Elizabeth which will create an additional 500 jobs.
The pharmaceutical giant has added a sixth production facility at its manufacturing site in the Eastern Cape. The group which has a global presence in 50 countries, aims to target the export market with its new high potency facility.
The 23,000m² facility will produce 3.2 billion tablets a year on level 1 of the facility with 3 million bottles being packaged per month.
Meanwhile, an added 400 million tablets a year with bottle packing capability will be produced on the second level of the facility.
Chief executive of Aspen Pharmacare, Stephen Saad said that the facility is a significant investment in the South African pharmaceutical industry. The company, which grew from a two-bedroom house in Durban is now a globalised multinational company.
“As part of our evolution and our global positioning in niche, difficult to manufacture, speciality therapeutic segments, we are continuously looking at industrial opportunities, that give us sustainable global advantages. This not only creates export revenue but gives domestic security in supply. High potency products and high containment manufacture, which we are show casing here for the first time today in our country, presents one such exciting opportunity”, said Saad.
Aspen’s Group Senior Executive, Stavros Nicolaou said that Aspen’s group operations in the Eastern Cape currently employs more than 2500 individuals, of which 2000 are based at the Port Elizabeth site.
In addition to recruiting 90% of local PE employees, Aspen said it will also embark on a Training Academy which will train employees in pharmaceutical manufacturing.
Aspen said that the R1 billion investment is fully aligned to the Department of Trade and Industry’s Industrial Policy Action Plan, the National Development Plan and President Ramaphosa’s call to investment. It will benefit industry by creating sustainable jobs, domestic investment, up and downstream linkages and export opportunities.
Notably, the high containment facility received a tax S12I tax allowance incentive from the dti.
Minister of the Department of Trade and Industry (the dti), Rob Davies who launched the high potency facility along with Saad, said that the launch was a significant investment which is taking South Africa into a new level of manufacturing space and creating the necessary jobs that South Africa needs in the manufacturing sector.
He added that South Africa has a huge trade deficit of about R20 billion. The contribution of manufacturing in the pharmaceutical sector is about 0.84% of manufacturing of GDP with about 9600 people employed in manufacturing.
The Minister added that when looking at global figures, one figure speaks to this investment. With regards to active pharmaceutical ingredients which are the things that make the pills works, we import R22 billion of this, said Davies.
"Today’s facility is producing high potency active pharmaceutical products. It is an investment which is taking us into a new level of manufacturing in South Africa”.
This facility can potentially combat the trade deficit gap as it is part of a much bigger investment package, said the Minister.
"This investment that we celebrating today is part of a bigger investment package. I want to congratulate Aspen for investing with us and staying with us and seeing the long picture and being part of the investment story". When the total of the investments come in, that you will be an employer second only to Volkswagen here in Nelson Mandela Bay. So Volkswagen you must work hard to keep the lead and Aspen you must struggle hard to overtake them”.
- BUSINESS REPORT ONLINE