By KWANCHAI RUNGFAPAISARN
Under the expansion strategy, the company will build new factories driven by opportunities in both domestic and international locations, as well as reviewing potential pharmaceutical acquisitions to support its future business.
Vivek Dhawan, CEO and chief coach of Mega Lifesciences Public Co Ltd, noted that it had 36 years of experience developing world-class medicines to promote wellness and improve people’s quality of life. It was a leading brand, offering nutritional and pharmaceutical products and over-the-counter (OTC) medication in 33 countries, as well as the distribution and logistics services for pharmaceutical and fast-moving consumer goods (FMCGs) in Myanmar, Vietnam and Cambodia.
During this time, MEGA had demonstrated the ability to achieve continuous growth in its business, with average annual revenue increasing by 12.1 per cent from 2010 to 2018, said Dhawan. The company’s normalised net profit increased 19.4 per cent in the first quarter of 2019.
“Our business performance and growth in Thailand, Myanmar, Vietnam, Cambodia and Malaysia demonstrate that we truly understand the Southeast Asian market. Our acquisition of Bio-Life Marketing Sdn Bhd, one of the leading players of consumer health products in Malaysia, together with our acquisition of ownership rights in designated pharmaceutical products from Sandoz GmbH in Myanmar and Ethiopia, were important in reinforcing our position and our commitment to boosting regional growth,” said Dhawan.
“We also strengthened our offerings, launching new products to deal with pain relief, allergies, and digestive health, in addition to our Eugica natural cough and cold range, medical nutrition supplements, our BiO-LiFE probiotics line and prescription products in select therapeutics. These product groups are expected to play a significant role in furthering the growth of our business. This year, the company plans to launch more than 10 products,” said the CEO.
To continue on its long-term growth trajectory, MEGA has unveiled a strategy to deliver on its commitment to providing high-quality health products by expanding into new markets. The company is focusing on developing countries in Southeast Asia, Central and Latin America, sub-Saharan Africa and the CIS countries that offer strong growth potential.
MEGA has now started operating in Nepal and plans to begin its operations in Colombia this year, alongside ramping up its presence in Ethiopia and other sub-Saharan African nations. The company is optimistic about the growth opportunities in these markets over the next five to seven years and more, and is reviewing potential acquisitions to further strengthen its regional presence. MEGA is currently evaluating a potential acquisition in Indonesia.
“These potential markets have the potential to grow with a growing population, more NCDs [non-communicable diseases] and the GDP growth to drive consumption. We have presented in these markets with the right products. They are prescription medicines, over-the-counter medicines and complementary medicines, including condition-specific vitamins, herbal medicines, probiotics, medical nutrition and natural cough and cold treatments. We are committed to human wellness with teams on the ground engaging with retailers, heath care professionals and consumers, together with our consumer engagement programmes and a holistic offering of high quality affordable medicines to these developing countries,” said Dhawan.
“These developing markets have a unique potential, which is emerging. They enjoy a growing population, an ageing population with growing non-communicable or lifestyle diseases. Every country has this challenge. Higher costs will impact every country other than capacities, which are beds and medical professionals. This creates huge opportunity for countries to educate and develop self-care where pharmacies play a role. And above all, we as humans start actively improving lifestyles and hence the burden on government funding.
Meanwhile, the medical community can work on new technologies and improvements to bring cures to many who cannot afford [current treatment] or for diseases that need treatment. Each has a role and this will lead to changes in the way we manage health – [moving] from ‘sick care’ to ‘wellness care’,” he said.
“We are working on bringing new drugs – through our venture in Myanmar. We are also doing work to educate humans on lifestyle changes through our Wellness We Care Centre. Meanwhile, we continue to bring the best products backed by science and made at world-class facilities. And developing a digital platform, a ‘we care app’, to become a source of knowledge and a guide for professionals and consumers to become more involved in their wellness,” said Dhawan.
Dhawan said that MEGA is making a capital investment of over Bt1.2 billion with part of it already spent as of March 2019 and with the remainder to be spent over the next two to three years. This investment includes around Bt600 million towards building a new factory in Myanmar under the Mega-MSN Joint Venture (MSN Laboratories is the fastest growing research driven company from India). This factory, with construction expected to begin in 2019, will produce new-generation medicines to treat cancer, diabetes and heart disease, which should be available on the market by 2022-2023.
MEGA has also opened a state-of-the-art large distribution centre in Myanmar to support logistics and distribution services, resulting in more efficient inventory management. The distribution centre is ISO 9001-accredited and follows globally recognised good distribution practices. MEGA is presently constructing an office space in Myanmar at a cost of over Bt100 million, with completion expected this year.
Around Bt500 million has been set aside for the planned expansion in Thailand’s Bang Pu, next to the company’s existing manufacturing plant. This project, when complete, will include a research and development centre, a warehouse and a facility to manufacture liquids and thus enabling the addition of new class of prescription medicines and herbal products for kids to MEGA’s portfolio. Construction is ongoing with completion expected by 2020.
MEGA is also moving ahead with Mega-Malee, its joint venture with Malee Group Plc. Two products have already been launched under the DR. DRINK brand: AK-TIV and D-GEST.