New R1 billion Aspen facility set to create 240 jobs

2018-05-16 06:00
Minister of Trade and Industry Dr Rob Davies, together with Aspen Group chief executive, Stephen Saad and Aspen capability manager, Branson Bosman, at the Aspen facility launch in Port Elizabeth.                                               Photo:SUPPLIED

Minister of Trade and Industry Dr Rob Davies, together with Aspen Group chief executive, Stephen Saad and Aspen capability manager, Branson Bosman, at the Aspen facility launch in Port Elizabeth. Photo:SUPPLIED

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THE Minister of Trade and Industry, Dr Rob Davies, officially launched the R1 billion Aspen Pharmaceuticals high containment facility, which will see the creation of an additional 240 jobs on the site, in Port Elizabeth on May 7.

Speaking at the launch, Davies said that it was a significant investment which is taking South Africa into a new level of manufacturing space and creating the necessary jobs that South Africa needs in the manufacturing sector.

“If we look at the pharmaceutical industry, South Africa’s population is the largest consumer of pharmaceutical products. When we look at some of these statistics, I think we can see that there are huge challenges in that we have a huge trade deficit of around R20 billion.

“This means we import R20 billion more of pharmaceutical products than we export,” said Davies.

He added that the contribution of manufacturing in the pharmaceutical sector is about 0.48% of the GDP, which plays a small part in the economy and employs about 9 600 people.

“I think when we look at the manufacturing value chains in the world, South Africa will be better off if we are involved in the productions of value added products, even if it is just basic manufacturing rather than simply importing.”

Davies congratulated Aspen for investing in South Africa and being part of the investment story. He said the company has become a multinational player that continues to retain its roots in South Africa and uses its global presence to constantly deepen its manufacturing capacity in the country.

Aspen Group chief executive, Stephen Saad, said, “We are pleased that over 90% of the jobs that will be created in the new facility will be local jobs, mostly drawn from surrounding communities, such as New Brighton Township. These employees go on to become world-class, highly skilled people that can hold their own anywhere and in most facilities, globally.”

The metro welcomed Aspen Pharmaceuticals’ mega investment as it reaffirmed the city’s status as a strategic and preferred investment destination.

According to Nelson Mandela Bay Executive Mayor Athol Trollip, Aspen’s latest R1 billion fixed asset investment further shows the company’s confidence in the city’s future growth potential and this will importantly bolster job creation and further enhance the company’s export potential.

“There is also a strong indication that the company is looking into relocating some of its offshore manufacturing institutions to Nelson Mandela Bay to consolidate its operations in the metro.”

Saad indicated that this recent investment is just a start of things to come.

“This would essentially reinforce his company’s presence in the metro and enable this pharmaceutical giant to become an employer of choice - the biggest in the metro,” Trollip said.

In its operations in the Eastern Cape, Aspen currently employs over 2 500 people, of which 2 000 are based at its Nelson Mandela Bay plant, with more than 90 percent of these employees coming from local communities.

At full capacity, the new high containment plant will produce approximately 3.6 billion tablets annually and package some three million bottles per month.

“We must also pay tribute to Davies, for the seminal role he has played in encouraging and facilitating this massive investment. The presence of both Davis and MEC for Finance Sakhumzi Somyo also highlighted the importance of good collaborative intergovernmental relations when it comes to attracting and securing investments of this magnitude,” Trollip said.

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