Indonesia's Kalbe eyes Singapore, Thailand with ASEAN trade bloc ahead

Indonesia's Kalbe Farma is making this year an expansion year as it moves beyond its shores and into Singapore and Thailand and their over-the-counter drug markets as a regional trade pact looks set to start at the end of the year. It also has corporate eyes set on even more countries, with a focus on West Africa.

Indonesia's largest pharmaceutical company already has planted itself in Myanmar, the Philippines and Vietnam, but they account for only 5% of Kalbe's overall sales.

The regional push is of interest ahead of an economic union on the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) at the end of 2015 that holds the promise of gradual harmonization on regulatory approvals in the trade bloc and related moves to protect intellectual property.

Kalbe also markets nutritional products and energy drinks and only the drinks in some of the countries it is in, by the end of the year to include Nigeria.

Its plan is to set aside $5 million to $10 million a year for foreign investments to generate growth while it ups its domestic growth by as much as 11%. It expects no more than 7% to 9% growth this year, the lower figure amounting to $1.3 billion. The higher target would make its foreign business the greater contributor to sales.

"Our overseas sales growth is higher than that of our domestic sales this year," with a planned double-digit growth abroad, finance director Bapak Vidjongtius said. "It will still take us several more years to boost the export contribution in our business."

- here's the story from the Jakarta Post