Lek confirms commitment to Romania with important investment in Targu Mures

25. 5. 2004

From right to left): Slovenian Prime Minister Anton Rop, President of the Board of Administrators of Lek PharmaTech Tomo CČuk and Romanian Minister of Health Dr. Ovidiu BrinzanLek, a new Sandoz company, and part of Novartis generics business, today inaugurated a new pharmaceutical plant in Targu Mures, Romania, 340 km from Bucharest. Focusing on macrolide antibiotics, the 4,550-square-meter complex will include an administration building, laboratories, production lines and storage center. Out of total investment of 30 million USD in Romania, the Targu-Mures macrolide production competence center investment is 12 million USD. The facility will provide products for the growing needs of the entire European market and will support the continued growth of Sandoz. The plant was officially inaugurated by Slovenian Prime Minister Anton Rop and Romanian Minister of Health Dr. Ovidiu Brinzan.

Metod Dragonja, Lek President and CEO As Metod Dragonja, Lek President and CEO, said at the opening: “The Romanian market is one of the key markets for Sandoz. This new facility represents our commitment to Romanian patients and authorities, and is another milestone in the vision of Lek, a new Sandoz company, to become the leading generic pharmaceutical company in the region.”

Hubert Hirzinger, Head Pharmaceuticals Sandoz “Global presence in key markets is vital for competitiveness,” says Hubert Hirzinger, Head Pharmaceuticals Sandoz. “The Romania plant, together with ones opened in Poland and India this month, put us in better position to deliver high-quality products promptly to our customers and increase our cost competitiveness.”

Lek, a new Sandoz company, provides a wide range of affordable generic products for Romanian patients and their health-care system; it has 39 different molecules – 25 of them antiinfectives – in different forms such as tablets, hard gelatin capsules and powders for suspensions. Sandoz business in Romania is operated by Lek PharmaTech, which was second on the Romanian generic pharmaceuticals market in 2003 (just behind Romania’s leading domestic pharmaceutical company Sicomed) and succeeded in increasing its market share.

Lek acquired the Romanian pharmaceutical company PharmaTech, a specialist in antibiotics, in 2001. Lek modernized the existing production plants according to GMP (good manufacturing practice) standards and decided to construct a new specialized production plant for antibiotics; construction began in July 2002. At the end of 2003 Lek and Biochemie in Romania were integrated into Lek PharmaTech.

The macrolide production competence center in Targu-Mures was built in less than two years. The surface of the site is 4,550 square meters, out of which 1,100 make up the manufacturing area. It is built according to Novartis high quality standards. The production will follow Lek environmental policies; one of the basic premises of our business and growth is respect for a healthy and safe environment.

Initially focused on the production of the macrolides, the plant will have a production capacity of 250 million units per year. Products from the Lek manufacturing site in Romania will be exported to the European Union, as well as to other European markets; export is expected to reach 80% of the production output in the next few years.

“This world-class macrolide production competence center will produce high quality generic medicines that offer increased treatment options for physicians and patients throughout Romania and across Europe,” said Tomo Čuk, President of the Board Of Administrators of Lek PharmaTech.

In addition to the Targu-Mures site, Lek PharmaTech operates also in Bucharest. In total Lek PharmaTech today employs approximately 230 people in Romania. The new plant will provide new jobs for Romanian professionals.

Lek PharmaTech conducting its business in accordance with the policies of good corporate citizenship: among the most noticeable programs in Romania in recent years were the donation of USD 100,000 to contribute to more effective treatments in Romanian children’s hospitals, the reconstruction and improvement of the secondary school playground in Targu Mures, and contribution to local environmental improvements, as well as many other contributions to hospitals and society.

Lek, a new Sandoz company, is an international pharmaceutical company which operates as a business center on the markets of Central and Eastern Europe, Southeastern Europe and the CIS region, and is an important supply center for Sandoz in the USA, the EU and elsewhere around the world. Lek creates value through the development, manufacturing and sales of pharmaceutical products, active pharmaceutical ingredients and biopharmaceutical products. The Lek Group employs about 3850 people in various regions and achieved total sales of USD 694 million in 2003.

Sandoz, a Novartis company, is a world leader in generic pharmaceuticals and develops, manufactures and markets these medicines as well as pharmaceutical and biotechnological active ingredients. Decades of experience and profound know-how make Sandoz a renowned partner in the Pharmaceuticals, Biopharmaceuticals and Industrial Products Franchises. Altogether, Sandoz employs approximately 13,000 people worldwide and posted sales of USD 2.9 billion in 2003.

Novartis AG (NYSE: NVS) is a world leader in pharmaceuticals and consumer health. In 2003, the Group’s business achieved sales of USD 24.9 billion and a net income of USD 5.0 billion. The Group invested approximately USD 3.8 billion in R&D. Headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, Novartis Group companies employ about 78,500 people and operate in over 140 countries around the world.

This press release contains certain “forward-looking statements and conclusions” based on projections of Lek’s future business operations. These estimates are derived from the best information currently available. In case these forecasts prove unreliable, the actual results could prove different from those projected.


For further details contact Katarina Klemenc Dinjaški, Corporate Communications at Lek, ++ 386 1 580 22 43, corporate.communications@lek.si