Minister Davies launches R1 billion Aspen high containment facility

Minister Davies alongside Stephen Saad and Aspen’s capability manager, Branson Bosman at the Aspen facility launch in Port ElizabethThe Minister of Trade and Industry, Dr Rob Davies launched Aspen’s high containment facility on 7 May in Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape. Apart from welcoming a new era in pharma manufacturing in South Africa, the plant will create an additional 240 jobs.

The High Containment Suite (HCS) Unit 4, together with the investment in a sterile facility, stemmed from a partnership between the Department of Trade and Industry (the dti) and Apsen. The multinational pharma manufacturer benefitted from the dti 12i tax incentive with a tax credit of about R209 million.

A significant investment

Speaking at the launch, Minister Davies said the new plant was a significant investment, which takes South Africa into a new level of manufacturing space and creates the necessary jobs 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 there are huge challenges in that we have a huge trade deficit of around R20 billion. This means we import R20 billion of pharmaceutical products than we export,’ said Davies.

The pharma industry from a manufacturing perspective contributes about 0.48 percent to the GDP, playing a small part in the economy and providing employment for about 9 600 people.

‘When we look at global manufacturing value chains, South Africa will be better off if we are involved in the production of value added products, even if it is just basic manufacturing rather than simply importing,’ he added.

Passionate about South Africa

Minister 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.

Apsen’s group chief executive, Stephen Saad said Aspen is a serial investor in the South African pharmaceutical industry. The company is particularly pleased that its Capex investment into the South African market over the past two years has out-stripped the investments made into the industry over the past decade.

‘We are pleased that over 90 percent 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 will go on to become world class, highly skilled people, who can hold their own anywhere and, in most facilities, globally. A further aspect of our DNA, particularly in pursuit of creating a better country, is partnering with government where possible,’ Saad concluded.

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