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Sat 14 Feb 2015 09:02 AM

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UAE pharma Julphar buys stake in Bangladeshi firm

Pharmaceutical company says stake deal marks its entry into Bangladesh; eyes growth amid growing healthcare demand

UAE pharma Julphar buys stake in Bangladeshi firm

Julphar, the largest Emirati pharmaceutical company, has acquired a majority stake in Bangladesh-based RAK Pharmaceuticals, marking its entry into the country and an expansion of its footprint in Asia.

RAK Pharmaceuticals is a subsidiary of RAK Ceramics and produces a variety of industry compliant tablets, capsules and syrups that are fit quality wise to meet a regulated healthcare market.

The company turned over $5.7 million of sales in 2013, representing growth of 24 percent on the year before, Julphar said in a statement.

Julphar and RAK Pharmaceuticals have had a long term strategic alliance through a joint partnership around technology transfer and a commercial marketing agreement for advanced pharmaceutical products, it added.

With a growing population of around 160 million, demand for healthcare and medicine in Bangladesh has increased steadily over recent years. Pharmaceutical sales in the country reached $1.3 billion in 2013.

Commenting on the acquisition, Dr Ayman Sahli, CEO of Julphar, said: "The size of the Bangladesh market alone provides huge investment opportunities, which can enhance the growing role of Julphar in the global healthcare industry.

"The stable investment outlook and the growing healthcare needs of a large, mostly underserved population make Bangladesh an attractive market for investors. Healthcare plays a major role in the expanding economy for Bangladesh and with this comes a clear need for increased manufacturing."

Julphar was launched in 1980 as a generic pharmaceutical company and turned over AED1.4 billion of sales in 2014.

In 2012, the company made inroads into biotechnology with the launch of a $150 million manufacturing facility in the UAE, dedicated to producing the raw material needed for biosimilar products. Today, this facility is the only plant in the Middle East and Africa region that produces insulin using insulin crystals derived from r-DNA technology.

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