West Pharmaceutical benefits from emerging market growth

Emerging markets have become more important for pharma, and that is no different for the companies that supply drugmakers. West Pharmaceutical Services, which makes packaging and delivery systems for sterile drug manufacturing, said international sales were a growth driver last year.

The company said that in the last quarter sales in the U.S. and Europe were "modestly higher," but sales in developing markets like Asia and South America saw strong growth. The company today reported that sales for the quarter were up 5.1%, when currency factors were factored out. For the year, the company said earnings were $1.37 billion, up 8%.

The company has boosted its productions in some of those areas to feed that demand. It has wrapped up construction of a packaging plant in China that began production last year and is in the midst of a 10-year expansion in India. The company also has a new rubber plant in China. Both are markets where drugmakers are putting up new plants and need access to supplies.

Companies like Merck KGaA have recently announced they are building new facilities in Asia. U.S.-based Mylan ($MYL) bought India sterile injectable drugmaker Agila Specialties last year for $1.75 billion and has said it intends to expand production in India.

- here's the release