Ranbaxy ups stake to 55% in local ops


BY SABRY TAHIR

INDIAN pharmaceutical giant Ranbaxy Laboratories Ltd (RLL) has increased its stake in Ranbaxy (M) Sdn Bhd to 55% from 45%, in line with the group's projection of robust growth for its overseas businesses over the next two years. 

RLL regional director (Asia Pacific & Latin America) Vinod Dhawan said the group had injected RM3mil to expand Ranbaxy Malaysia's ma- nufacturing plant in Sungai Petani, Kedah. 

“We are looking at major ways to develop the Malaysian operations, including making it a new hub to reinforce our position in the Asian market,'' Dhawan told a press conference in Kuala Lumpur yesterday. 

He said the investment was for the acquisition of high-speed machines to augment capacity, the introduction of bilayered tabletting and to enhance manufacturing practices to comply with international standards. 

The plant in Sungei Petani not only caters to Malaysia, but also Singapore, Brunei and Papua New Guinea. 

Ranbaxy Malaysia, which now has a paid-up capital of RM8mil, is a joint venture formed in 1983 between RLL, the Indian government and Malaysian shareholders  

Dhawan said RLL was upbeat about the Malaysian operation as it had developed a strong marketing base and good reputation among the medical fraternity. 

“Going forward, we see significant opportunities through our range of value-added products,” he said. 

The RLL group, India's largest pharmaceutical company, is ranked the 9th largest manufacturer and marketer of branded generic pharmaceuticals and active pharmaceutical ingredients. 

RLL has operations in the US, China, Britain, Germany and Brazil, is set to achieve US$1bil in sales by 2004 from US$789mil in 2002. 

Ranbaxy Malaysia managing director T. Jeyabalan, meanwhile, said the company which specialised in products for cardiovascular, antibiotic and gastrointestinal therapy was presently a major contributor in South-East Asia with a sales turnover of RM32.5mil last year. 

“At a growth rate averaging at 15% annually, we are targeting RM38mil this year and plan to become a RM100mil company by 2007,'' he said. 

The company, which has launched four novel drug delivery system (NDDS) products utilising patented platform technologies developed by RLL, is looking at launching a number of new products, including drugs for diabetes, allergy and cardiovascular problems, and antibiotics. 

Other products in the pipeline include two anti-AIDS products, Nevirapine and Stavudine. 

Jeyabalan said Ranbaxy Malaysia was also evaluating the possibility of producing dermatological and paediatric formulations.  

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