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Thursday, Oct 07, 2004

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Ranbaxy setting up plant in Brazil

P.T. Jyothi Datta

Mumbai , Oct. 6

IT'S official now. Homespun drug major Ranbaxy Laboratories Ltd is in the process of setting up a manufacturing unit in Brazil.

"We said right at the beginning, as our business grows we will build a factory and that is what we are doing. We have bought land and hired a project manager. Work would commence in the fourth quarter of this year and it would be completed in the second quarter of next year," Dr Brian Tempest, Ranbaxy's Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director, told Business Line.

The last couple of years have been rife with rumours on Ranbaxy's manufacturing plans in Brazil, since Ranbaxy is the largest international generic player in the Brazilian market.

Brazil has been a lure for other generic drug companies (those that make medicines that are chemically equivalent to an original drug) because it is among the fastest growing markets, said an analyst tracking the pharma industry.

Globally, Ranbaxy has manufacturing units in more than seven countries, including in China, Ireland, Malaysia, Nigeria and the US.

"We are building the plant on the outskirts of Rio and our Brazilian business is based in Sao Paulo," he said, unwilling to divulge financial details. Ranbaxy entered the Brazilian market in 2000 and the new plant would support Ranbaxy's regional business in Central America. The plant would produce drugs that are already being supplied to the Brazilian market.

Brazil and Russia are spearheading Ranbaxy's growth in the BRICs markets (Brazil, Russia, India and China), after the US and Europe. In Russia, Ranbaxy is ranked 11th in terms of volumes and the company is in the process of forming a 100 per cent subsidiary. "The reason we are having a subsidiary is to have better distribution in the local market," he said.

China, however, has not been that easy for the company, with sales in the first half registering a decline of 14 per cent. "Work is in progress in China. We have made strategic changes there in the product-flow to products that have exclusivity. We have also set up a network of representatives. It would strengthen our picture in China," he said.

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