Revamped J&J South Africa plant set to double workforce

Johnson & Johnson ($JNJ) has beefed up a pharma manufacturing plant in Cape Town, South Africa that makes consumer health products. Now it intends to beef up the workforce there.

The drugmaker opened a plant in Cape Town this week after investing 300 million rand ($18.1 million) in new technology and infrastructure, the company said in a statement. An executive said after two years of keeping the headcount at the plant flat, it now expects to add jobs as it increases capacity to serve South Africa and about 25 other markets in sub-Saharan Africa.

"We have now created a footprint where we can double our current headcount of 130 in the next 5 years and triple our current production capacity," said Cape Town Site Lead Alex Granados.

The Cape Town plant manufactures tablets, liquids, creams, suppositories and ointments, as well as doing sachet-filling, packaging and warehousing. Among its key products are Listerine, Benylin, Mylanta, Sinutab and Rehidrat.

The company is not done with upgrades in South Africa. It said it expects to invest another 150 million rand ($9 million) in the next three years on improvements at its consumer products plant in East London.

Africa is one of the fastest growing emerging pharma markets and so drawing drugmakers from many other countries. A McKinsey & Co. report last year said the market had grown over a decade to $20.8 billion from $4.7 billion in 2003 and could hit as much as $52 billion by 2020.

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