Animal-health company breaks ground for new Suzhou facility
Updated: 2013-11-07 07:44
By AMY HE in New York (China Daily USA)
Zoetis, an animal-health company that spun off from pharmaceutical giant Pfizer this year, broke ground on Tuesday for a manufacturing facility in Suzhou.
The plant will produce animal medication for China and supply products for livestock customers in more than 60 countries, according to Bill Price, senior director of corporate communications at Zoetis. It will employ 110 workers.
The company, which began operations in China in 1995 and is headquartered in Shanghai, produces medication for farm animals, including cattle, pigs, poultry, sheep and fish, as well as companion animals such as dogs, cats and horses.
Zoetis also reported third-quarter results on Tuesday, with revenue in the Asia-Pacific region at $167 million, a 7 percent increase over the same quarter last year. Livestock- product sales rose 8 percent, driven by new swine products, and sales of companion animal products was up 3 percent, "based on increases in developed markets such as Taiwan and Japan and in emerging markets such as China,"according to the report.
"China is a fast-growing market for Zoetis, so we're very pleased with [our] performance in China,"CEO Juan Ramón Alaix told China Daily in an interview. "China it's a country that is having our full attention for Zoetis, and definitely we see this market as a market with plenty of opportunities.”
Alaix said that consumption of animal products is increasing quickly in China—71 million tons were consumed in 2012, according to the Earth Policy Institute—and people moving from rural to city areas are changing the way they get animal protein. He said that Zoetis can help producers generate more supply to meet the growing demand.
"I'm convinced that the potential of China to generate significant animal protein will be there, but in the short term, this consumption, it's really met with importation of meat from other countries, including Australia and other countries around the world,"he said.
China is already a huge pork producer, but "still, there are opportunities to improve [the] productivity of their production, and this will generate a significant additional animal protein or pork available in the market,"he said.
In August, Zoetis launched Rui Lan An, a vaccine to treat highly pathogenic porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus in pigs, which first appeared in China and Vietnam in 2006, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It had received approval from China's Ministry of Agriculture for the launch.
"Rui Lan An exemplifies the commitment of our joint venture to develop and manufacture quality vaccines well matched to the local health challenges facing China's pork industry,"said Stefan Weiskopf, executive vice-president and president of Zoetis' Asia-Pacific region, in a statement. "The vaccine represents our commitment to help assure a safe, sustainable food supply from healthy food production animals through global scientific expertise and local innovation. It is a key milestone for Zoetis' business in China.”
Vaccines for swine have "high-growth potential as China is the world's leading pork producing nation,"the company said in the statement. The joint venture with the Chinese government is a "strategic platform for growth in China"since the animal-health industry in the country is valued at $1.8 billion and is expected to increase 9.3 percent over the next five years, it said.
The company raised $2.2 billion for a February initial public offering, the second-biggest IPO of a US company this year. It offered shares at $26 a piece, and closed on its first day of trading at $31.01.