Fresenius Kabi celebrated the installation of the highest structural component of its pharmaceutical production center in Wilson County, North Carolina. The German company is investing $100 million in expanding its manufacturing campus, which will add at least 445 new jobs to its current 100-plus staffing by the time it’s completed in 2022.
Fresenius Kabi is part of Fresenius, which has world headquarters in Bad Homburg, Germany. The company focuses on drugs and technologies for infusion, transfusion and clinical nutrition.
In addition to the North Carolina facility, the company broke ground in September 2017 for an expansion of its manufacturing plant in Melrose Park, Ill. The company employs more than 3,000 people in the U.S.
The North Carolina facility had the technical support of the North Carolina Biotechnology Center, the North Carolina Department of Commerce and the Economic Development Partnership of NC. Additional partners were the North Carolina General Assembly, the North Carolina Community College System, Wilson County, the City of Wilson, and the Wilson Economic Development Council.
Fresenius initially announced the North Carolina expansion in 2017, shortly after it committed to acquiring U.S.-based Akorn. This deal would have expanded Fresenius’s global production capabilities, with two plants in the U.S. and one in India. However, the deal fell apart last year when Fresenius found quality manufacturing problems at Akorn as part of its due diligence. During a trial, a judge found that Fresenius had the right to cancel the acquisition.
At its 2018 annual report on February 20, the company reported its 15th consecutive record year. For fiscal 2019, it projected sales growth of 3% to 6%. Group sales increased by 2% (6% in constant currency) to 33.530 billion euros. North American sales made up 42% of sales, despite a slight drop in actual sales of 1%. The biggest increase was in the Asia-Pacific region, which grew 6% and makes up 10% of total sales. The biggest drop was in Latin America, 3%, which makes up 4% of total sales.
In relation to its manufacturing expansion, the company invested 2.163 billion euros into property, plant and equipment, up from 1.828 billion euros in 2017. This was, the company stated, “primarily for the modernization and expansion of dialysis clinics, production facilities as well as hospitals and day clinics.”
In a meeting yesterday with business journalists, Stephan Sturm, Fresenius’s chief executive officer, indicated the company is pleased with its current portfolio but might sell some non-core business functions within its units. He didn’t believe there was any reason to sell one of its four business units, but “there may also be activities within these business areas where we believe we are not the optimal owners.”
The four business units are Fresenius Medical Care, leader in treating chronic kidney failure; Fresenius Helios, Europe’s largest private hospital operator; Fresenius Kabi, which offers essential drugs, clinical nutrition products, medical devices and services to critically and chronically ill patients; and Fresenius Vamed, which plans, develops and manages healthcare facilities.
The company at its February 20 earnings call said management will evaluate strategic options for its transfusion and cell technology business. This is a standalone business within its Kabi unit and markets to blood banks and plasma collectors.
“We are convinced that it is better off with a dedicated organization with clear responsibilities and an even stronger focus on the specific transfusion customers,” Sturm told the journalists.