Mega building B500m factory
Mega Lifesciences, a producer of pharmaceuticals and food supplements, is spending 500 million baht to set up a new factory in Bang Pu, Samut Prakan, near the firm's existing plant.
The new factory is scheduled to be ready by 2020.
According to Vivek Dhawan, the company's chief executive, the factory will include an R&D centre, a warehouse and a facility to produce liquids, enabling the addition of a new class of prescription medicines and herbal products for children.
"We keep on expanding in Asean to further strengthen our regional presence, which contributes up to 85% of our total sales," Mr Dhawan said.
The spending is part of the company's investment and expansion plan for 2018-21.
Some of the budget was spent last year, with the remainder to be used during 2019-21.
Some 300-600 million baht will go to acquiring a pharmaceutical company in Indonesia.
A further 600 million baht will be assigned to build a factory in Myanmar. Construction is expected to begin in the second half of this year.
The Myanmar factory will make new-generation medicines to treat cancer, diabetes and heart disease, coming to market by 2022 or 2023.
"The company is interested in Indonesia because of its big population and the market size of the pharmaceutical business is about US$5 billion," Mr Dhawan said. "Mega has expanded food supplements in Indonesia for several years and sees huge potential for pharmaceutical products there."
He said the company expects to close its acquisition deal in Indonesia within the next three months.
In addition to existing markets, the company will explore opportunities in new countries with high growth potential and add new business models to sustain its business growth in the long run.
Mega was founded more than three decades ago to develop nutritional and pharmaceutical products and over-the-counter medicines in 33 countries, as well as provide logistics services for pharmaceutical and fast-moving consumer goods in Myanmar, Vietnam and Cambodia.
In addition to Southeast Asia, the company is focused on expansion in Latin America, sub-Saharan Africa and the Commonwealth of Independent States.
The company plans to begin its operations in Colombia this year alongside a ramped-up presence in Ethiopia and other African countries.
"We are optimistic about the growth opportunities in these markets over the next 5-7 years and more," Mr Dhawan said.
Apart from pharmaceutical products, Mega has teamed up with SET-listed Malee Group Plc, one of the country's biggest juice makers, to develop plant-based drinks.
Mega also opened the Wellness We Care Center in Saraburi and operates Pranaa Kitchen, serving nutritious meals made from plant-based whole foods.
"We hope to see people change their lifestyles and behaviour and live lives free of medicines for a longer period or reduce their dependence on medicines," Mr Dhawan said.
Through its strategy, Mega targets doubling its operating revenue by 2025, from 10.34 billion baht in 2018.
Of last year's total revenue, 5.41 billion baht was from Mega's own pharmaceutical and food supplement products, 4.64 billion baht was from logistics business and 283 million baht was from original equipment manufacturer business.