Sanofi building its largest African plant in Algeria

Sanofi ($SNY) has been investing in Africa for some time and already has two plants in Algeria. Gambling on the potential on the continent, the French drugmaker intends to place a $95 million bet there by building its third plant in that country, which it says will be its largest in Africa.

Sanofi said today that it will invest €70 million ($95 million) to build a manufacturing facility that at full capacity will be able to turn out 100 million units a year. That will be about 80% of the volume distributed by Sanofi in Algeria. It will produce both dry and liquid pharmaceutical forms, and include a distribution center. Sanofi said the plant will employ more than 130 workers.

It expects it will take about three years to get it up and running. The facility will be built on 6.6 hectares in a pharmaceutical and biotech cluster in the new town of Sidi Abdellah. Sanofi already has plants in Ain Benian and Oued S'mar.

Sanofi has been about superlatives in Africa of late. When it opened a €20 million, 12,000-square-meter distribution center in Morocco in April, Sanofi CEO Christopher Viehbacher said it would become the largest in Africa.

As part of its plans in Algeria, the drugmaker and the Algerian Health Minister also agreed to work jointly to improve screenings there for cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and cholesterol-related issues. They will also work together on influenza monitoring. The screens will be done with a mobile clinic and are intended to help raise health awareness and education in the country.

"We are aware that drugs alone are not enough to fight cardiovascular diseases, which is why Sanofi, in collaboration with the health authorities, will be providing solutions for public prevention, screening and education," Viehbacher said. 

- here's the announcement