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Aspen moves production to new R1bn SA plant

May 08 2018 13:06
Janice Kew, Bloomberg

Johannesburg - Aspen Pharmacare [JSE:APN] is relocating the production of pharmaceuticals for late-stage cancer, Parkinson’s disease and some auto-immune illnesses to South Africa from regions including Europe.

The move will help secure supply as manufacturing of the pharmaceuticals is currently outsourced to other companies, CEO Stephen Saad told reporters on Monday in Port Elizabeth, where the R1bn unit has been built.

Aspen is Africa’s biggest maker of pharmaceuticals and has operations in more than 150 countries. It is valued at about R121bn.

The new plant will start making drugs next month and is expected to produce about 3.6 billion pills a year at full capacity.

About 90% of those will be exported, and both South African and German regulators have audited and approved the high-containment factory.

Aspen will add 500 jobs as part of the expansion, bringing its total employed in the coastal city to 2 500 people, Saad told reporters.

That will make the Durban-based maker of pharmaceuticals the second biggest employer in Port Elizabeth after German auto maker Volkswagen.

The company plans to build a separate factory in the city that will produce anaesthetics and anti-coagulants. The factory is expexcted to be completed over the next three to four years, the CEO said. It is expected to cost at least R2bn.

The share price of Aspen closed 1.3% lower in Johannesburg on Monday at R264.52. By mid-morning trade on Tuesday the share price was up 0.15% at R264.92.

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