Aspen's R3.4bn investment to widen SA's export base

Friday, November 15, 2019

Aspen Pharmacare has through its R3.4 billion investment, demonstrated its confidence in South Africa’s economic growth potential.

The company is one of the companies that heeded the call by President Cyril Ramaphosa to invest in the country as he intends to raise $100 million – or R1.2 trillion – in new investments over five years, with a view to address low economic growth and reduce  unemployment.

The country recently hosted the second South Africa Investment Conference, which amassed a total value of investment commitments of up to R363 billion.

According to the President, this investment is 17% higher than the R300 billion in investments made at the conference’s debut in 2018. These investments are expected to create 412 000 direct jobs over the next five years.

Aspen -- a leading global specialty and branded multinational pharmaceutical company in both emerging and developed markets -- has committed the largest ever pharmaceutical investment, which will establish a global steriles platform for the company, with significant export potential.

“Advanced manufacturing and strong export orientation are key pillars of our government's re-industrialisation strategy. Amongst the more important steriles to be manufactured at this facility are general and local anaesthetics - niche products requiring complex, difficult to replicate steriles capability.

“There is a further step in positioning Aspen as a leader in anaesthetic, injectable thrombosis and high potency products,” Aspen Group Senior Executive Strategic Trade Stavros Nicolaou told SAnews

He said the investment will be executed over three years, which includes validation production, with commercial production aimed for early 2022.

At peak production, approximately 95% of production will be for export markets.

Nicolaou said Aspen has successfully executed a number of investments in creating significant capacity and capability at its Port Elizabeth site.

“Steriles are highly automated and this investment will generate hard currency-based exports for our country and will assist in narrowing the significant and deteriorating trade deficit that characterizes the South African pharmaceutical market. Moreover, these types of investments provide for backward and forward economic linkages.

“Above all, not only is it a vote of confidence in our economy - being the largest ever pharmaceutical investment  in our country - but it establishes a national manufacturing asset for SA, positioning Aspen’s Port Elizabeth-based site as a global manufacturing hub for anaesthetics,” Nicolaou said.

Aspen has an established presence in 70 locations, with 23 manufacturing facilities at 15 across six continents. Its flagship manufacturing assets are situated in Port Elizabeth, South Africa. –