Novartis' Sandoz expands Poland plant with packaging facility

Novartis' ($NVS) plant in Stryków, Poland, is one of the largest of its Sandoz generics unit, producing 5 billion tablets a year. But it had no packaging lines, forcing the company to transport its production to other facilities for that step in the supply chain. Sandoz will be able to expand capacity at the plant and save on transportation costs now that it has opened a new packaging facility there.

"This investment will greatly facilitate the manufacturing and packaging process, as we will be able to pack around 4 billion of manufactured tablets, without the need to send them to external packaging facilities," Ard van der Meij, president of the Board of Sandoz Poland, said in a statement. "Poland plays a vital role in our company's growth strategy. This investment will increase the capacity of the plant and, simultaneously, reduce costs."

Sandoz has been working for two years on the 171 million PLN ($46.9 million) facility, which in its first phase has 8 packaging lines and a fully automated warehousing system. The company has added 90 jobs to operate the facility and will be adding 40 more in short order, it said in an announcement last week.

The Stryków plant has about 450 employees and manufactures generic anti-inflammatory medicine ketoprofen, diabetes medicines metformin and glimepiride, and hypertension meds ramipril and torasemide, among others. 

That part of the world is part of Novartis' expansion plans and it has been expanding its capacity to realize them. It is currently building a $150 million plant near St. Petersburg in Russia, a country that figures prominently in its emerging markets strategy. That plant is slated to open this year, although there was a "technical" delay at the facility last fall.

- here's the announcement