Foundation stone laid for the largest Novartis investment in Slovenia

  • Total investment value of 105 million Euros. 
  • The investment will also bring 150 new jobs, with which Lek at Prevalje will more than double the number of employees over six years. 
  • The concept and project design were made entirely in Slovenia, the involvement of domestic partners will be significant.
  • The investment will be placed in the existing spatial plans and will meet strict Novartis environmental standards, in some cases more stringent than European laws.
11. 4. 2017

In the presence of Miro Cerar, PhD, Prime Minister of the Republic of Slovenia, a foundation stone for the new production plant for a broad-spectrum antibiotic, one of the most important products of Lek and Sandoz, was laid today at Novartis site in Prevalje. With the investment in new facilities, Novartis is consolidating its position as one of the most important employers in Carinthia. By 2019, around 150 new employees are expected to join the existing 246 employees at the Prevalje site, thereby more than doubling the number of employees over only six years (2013/ 2019 index 223). These are mainly jobs with high added value and the emphasis is on recruiting workforce from the local environment.

The value of the first investment stage is 85 million Euros, starting in 2017 with expected completion by 2019. The total value of the investment will amount to 105 million Euros and is the largest Novartis investment in Slovenia to date.

“With this investment in a new production plant in Prevalje, Novartis reaffirmed its intention of a long-term presence in Slovenia. Since 2003, Novartis has invested in Slovenia more than 1.9 billion Euros. More than 1 billion Euros has been dedicated to development, and the rest to modernisation and expansion of production capacities. Over the last five years, Novartis employed in total more than 1400 new associates in Slovenia,« said Vojmir Urlep, President of the Board of Management of Lek, at the foundation-laying ceremony and added: »Novartis’ high investments in the development of Lek are the result of the knowledge of our employees, as well as demonstrated high quality of our leadership, processes, products and services. Last year, Novartis was the first company to bring innovative pharmaceutical production to Slovenia and started developing finished biopharmaceutical products at Lek. The new production plant in Prevalje will, along with increasing production capacity, strengthen the competitiveness of the Prevalje site and its significance within Lek and Novartis.”

When implementing the investment in Prevalje, Lek will cooperate mainly with Slovenian companies; positive impacts on the national economy are expected to be seen already in the early stage of construction. Both the concept and projects for construction were made entirely in Slovenia, utilizing local knowledge.

At the ceremony, the Slovenian Prime Minister, Dr Miro Cerar, emphasised: "Today's laying of the foundation stone for the largest Novartis investment in Slovenia to date reflects successful work, quality and performance of Lek and all of its employees. For Prevalje, Carinthia and Slovenia as a whole, this investment presents a strong incentive for further development, and further creating new jobs and demonstrates that Slovenia is an attractive location for foreign investment. The Government of the Republic of Slovenia welcomes the decision of Novartis which recognizes Slovenia as one of the key countries that provide a transparent and secure business environment with an educated, high quality workforce; as a location, suited for long-term investments, creating new business projects and exploiting the business opportunities offered by the Slovenian environment. As Prime Minister I will continue to strive to improve the business environment, as I would like to have more events like this one today.” Prime Minister adds that “today's investment demonstrates the special recognition of Carinthian knowledge as well as the people of Carinthia, because Novartis decided to choose Carinthian knowledge, Carinthian innovation and this particular part of Slovenia.”

Lek has been operating in Prevalje for nearly 40 years. Broad-spectrum antibiotic, the finished pharmaceutical product that is manufactured here, is sold in more than 60 most demanding markets around the globe, including the USA. Annually, more than half a billion tablets are manufactured in Prevalje.

The new production plant and continuing employment growth are based on intensive demand growth as recorded by the Prevalje site in the recent development period. The average annual production growth over the last five years has been namely more than 10%.

“We are pleased that our investment in the new production plant can further strengthen the role of one of the key economic entities and employers in the region of Carinthia. More than 95% of our workforce comes from municipalities in the Mežica and Upper Drava valley. More than half of the employees are women. We achieve Novartis’ principle of responsible business conduct through continuous investment in environmental technologies, which accompany all our investments and process improvements, « stressed at the ceremony Zlatko Ajd, Director Anti-infectives Prevalje, and added: »The new production plant will be of course also equipped with the most advanced technologies available at the time of the investment. Novartis environmental standards are in some cases even more stringent than the applicable legislation in the EU. At the Prevalje site, we will implement Novartis standard for extremely low levels of pharmaceutical ingredients in wastewaters, which is considerably stricter than that of European legislation. We consider responsible business conduct also through our long-term cooperation with the local associations and organisations in the field of education, cultural and social activities.”

To guarantee the successful delivery of this key project and continue the ongoing operational performance of the site Nick Page, Global Head Anti-Infectives in Novartis Technical Operations, was delighted to announce at today’s event the following appointments to the Prevalje leadership team, which will be effective May 1st, 2017: Zlatko Ajd will take on the new role of Head Expansion Project Prevalje, and Roman Burja, currently Head Production at Prevalje will become Site Head of Prevalje. Roman joined Novartis in 2001 and during this time he has undertaken a variety of roles in the Development, Technical Life Cycle Management and Production functions at both Mengeš and Prevalje. Roman has a degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Ljubljana.

The investment in the new Lek Prevalje production plant will be placed in the existing spatial plans and is, according to the opinion of an independent expert institution, in view of the planned mitigation measures, fully acceptable for the environment. Good results with regard to health, safety and environment are also otherwise a condition for the acquisition of Novartis’ investments, as all Lek’s investment projects are accompanied by technological innovations and improvements of environmental performance.

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Lek, a Sandoz company, is one of the key pillars of the second-largest generic pharmaceutical company globally. Its role within Sandoz is to act as: a leading global development center for technologically demanding products and technologies; a key global manufacturing center for active pharmaceutical ingredients and medicines; a competence center for the development of vertically integrated products; a Sandoz competence center in the field of development and manufacturing of biosimilar active ingredients and products; a supply center for the markets of Central and Eastern Europe (CEE), South East Europe (SEE) and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), and is responsible for marketing and sales of Sandoz products on the Slovenian market. For further information, please visit

Sandoz is a global leader in generic and biosimilar pharmaceuticals. As a division of the Novartis Group, our purpose is to discover new ways to improve and extend people’s lives. We contribute to society’s ability to support growing healthcare needs by pioneering novel approaches to help people around the world access high-quality medicine. Our portfolio of approximately 1000 molecules, covering all major therapeutic areas, accounted for 2016 sales of USD 10.1 billion. In 2016, our products reached more than 500 million patients and we aspire to reach one billion. Sandoz is headquartered in Holzkirchen, in Germany’s Greater Munich area.
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Novartis provides innovative healthcare solutions that address the evolving needs of patients and societies. Headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, Novartis offers a diversified portfolio to best meet these needs: innovative medicines, eye care and cost-saving generic pharmaceuticals. Novartis is the only global company with leading positions in these areas. In 2016, the Group achieved net sales of USD 48.5 billion, while R&D throughout the Group amounted to approximately USD 9 billion (USD 8.4 billion excluding impairment and amortization charges). Novartis Group companies employ approximately 118,000 full-time-equivalent associates. Novartis products are available in more than 155 countries around the world. For more information, please visit

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This press release contains 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.

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For additional information contact:
Katarina Klemenc
Corporate Communications
Lek Pharmaceuticals d. d.
Phone: +386 1 580 22 43
Fax: +386 1 580 24 32