Abbott opens third nutrition plant this year

Abbott Laboratories' nutrition products plant in Jhagadia, Gujarat, India--Courtesy of Abbott Laboratories

Abbott Laboratories ($ABT), which has made a large bet on its global nutrition business, is in the final throw of a manufacturing triple play. The Chicago-area company opened a nutrition products plant in India this week after opening plants in the U.S. and China several months ago.

The $75 million plant in Jhagadia, Gujarat, will be able to manufacture 40 million pounds of nutritional products a year, including PediaSure, Ensure, Mama's Best, Similac, and Glucerna. The plant employs 400 people but uses what Abbott refers to as "zero touch, zero exposure" technology so that no human hands are in contact with the products until the products reach the final packaging stage.

The plant, which is spread over 159,850 square meters (39 acres), was also built with environmental impacts in mind and so limits CO2 emissions, water use and waste. The facility, for example, uses "Karnal" technology developed in India, reusing wastewater on a 10-acre forest of 6,800 eucalyptus and casuarina trees planted on the site.

Abbott opened a nutrition R&D center in Bengaluru, India, in 2012. The company also has two other manufacturing facilities in India, one in Baddi and one in Goa.

Nutritionals make up the biggest piece of Abbott's business, generating $6.7 billion in sales last year. It is slated to grow to $9 billion in the next several years, powered in part by the additional capacity. In June, Abbott opened nutrition manufacturing plants in Tipp City, OH, and in Jiaxing, China. The $230 million infant and baby formula plant in China replaced a facility that it acquired in 2007 from Fonterra, which it has closed. The $270 million plant in Ohio manufactures Ensure. It is expected to have 240 employees when it is up to speed and that is very high speed. With the ability to fill 1 million bottles a day, an Abbott exec told the Dayton Business Journal, the facility is Abbott's fastest aseptic filling line in the world.

- here's the Abbott release
- here's some Abbott background