Foundation laid for $365m Philex Pharma at SFZ

The process to set up an international complex for pharmaceutical industries at Salalah Free Zone (SFZ) started with the foundation laying ceremony of Philex Pharmaceuticals on Saturday.
The complex, which is to come up with an estimated investment of $365 million, is a strategic partnership between ABELA International and Arab Group for Investment. The investment is in line with the good relations between Qatar and Oman and an attempt to benefit from the promising opportunities in the pharmaceutical industries in the world.
The foundation ceremony was held at the factory site inside the newly constructed SFZ campus under the auspices of Ahmed bin Nasser bin Hamad al Mehrzi, Minister of Tourism and Chairman of Salalah Free Zone Company. Sayyid Mohammed bin Sultan bin Hamoud al Busaidy, Minister of State and Governor of Dhofar, was also present on the occasion.
The pharmaceutical company would come up on 100,000 square metres area in three phases, as the first phase would cover 10,000 sqm and would be ready for commissioning in another 36 months. South Korean company CTCBio would provide technical support in the establishment of Philex Pharmaceuticals in Salalah.
According to Waseem Hamad, CEO of Philex Pharmaceuticals, the company would have three production lines for medicines under which more than 100 drugs would be produced.
“The first line is to produce 250 million tonnes of tablets and capsules per year while the second line would focus on ODF (oral doses film) with a target of 100 million tonnes a year and finally on bio technology and vaccines through our South Korean partner CTCBio, which is renowned name in medicine production technology globally,” said Hamad.
The aim is to serve as a global logistical pharmaceutical hub for local manufacturing companies and export the products in GCC and African countries.
Commenting on the company’s in-country value (ICV), Hamad said: “Coming to Salalah is a well drafted decision for us. We took into consideration its strategic location and infrastructure development before making up our mind to invest.”
“For example, it is easy access to Yemen, all African countries and the GCC neighbours. It is easy to access other Middle Eastern countries from here. This gives us a situation to stay put and create job opportunity for the local people,” he said.
The company is likely to provide 300 jobs in all three phases. However, 35 per cent would be covered during the first phase and rest in two phases respectively.
The young generation, according to Hamad, would get exposure in pharmaceutical and para-pharmaceutical sectors, which would generate new job opportunities for them.
Steve Ki Hong Sung, CEO of CTCBio was happy with the infrastructure development of
Salalah Free Zone and Salalah location, which, according to him,
is a real gateway to the African countries.
“The pharmaceutical complex would certainly benefit from the Sultanate’s strategic location as a gateway to the Gulf region and its proximity to African markets, as there has been growth in demand for medicines in Gulf and East Africa region,” Sung said.