Merck opens $21M Jakarta packaging plant

Merck ($MRK) has opened a $21 million packaging plant in Indonesia, expecting to tap growth in Asian markets.

The Jakarta Post says the 4,900-square-meter packaging facility in Pandaan, Pasuruan, East Java, opened this week. Merck, known as Merck Sharp and Dohme (MSD) outside the U.S., will manufacture packaging for cardiovascular, hypertension, respiratory, oncology and diabetes drugs, among others, at the plant. About a quarter of its production will be for the Indonesian market and the rest will be exported.

Patrick Bergstedt, Asia Pacific MSD president, told reporters that the company expects significant growth in Asia. "We realize that the crisis in Europe does not significantly affect the Asian market, in which purchasing power and consumption of medicine keeps increasing," Bergstedt said.

Merck has a sizable presence in Asia and has been expanding other operations in the region. About a year ago, Merck agreed to invest more than $250 million over the next 10 years in site improvements at its manufacturing facilities in Tuas, Singapore. It also said it would expand its biotech operations, adding capability to support new product launches.

Lots of companies are looking for ways to get in on the big growth in demand for drugs that they expect from the region and Indonesia is one of the key targets. The India division of West Pharmaceutical Services ($WST) recently launched a 10-year building plan to create a 37,700-square-meter packaging complex in Sri City, India, with plans to serve markets like Vietnam and Indonesia from there. Sanofi ($SNY) CEO Chris Viehbacher mentioned both of those countries as among markets where he is looking for acquisitions.

- read The Jakarta Post's story

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