• Friday, June 21, 2024
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Foreign investors renew interest in May & Baker

Foreign investors renew interest in May & Baker

May & Baker Plc has expressed the company’s readiness to partner with foreign investors and venture capitalists to ensure enhanced returns to all stakeholders.

The company’s Managing Director, Mr Nnamdi Okafor, said in a statement on Wednesday in Lagos that some foreign investors and venture capitalists had indicated interests in the company.

The statement said the company would consider partnerships that could provide additional technical competence and funding that could be used to enhance returns to stakeholders.

“There have been a lot of interests in the company from foreign and Nigerian investors but the company will only be receptive to arrangements that protect the interests of the existing shareholders.

“The arrangements can create substantial future values for all stakeholders,’’ it said.

The statement said that the company’s new equity issue would be done in a way that recognised the interest and support of existing shareholders over the turbulent years.

“We are talking to the major shareholders to feel their pulse and see when they will be ready to take their rights and we are also talking to some foreign investors too,’’ it said.

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The statement said the company would be keen on those that would bring some technical competence and skill.

It added that the company was being careful in considering foreign interests to avoid a situation where foreign investors would only use Nigerian investment as a cover for its global activities.

It said the company had successfully completed a major stage of its World Health Organisation (WHO) certification and pre-qualification process with the issuance of the WHO’s current General Manufacturing Practice (cGMP) to the company.

“The company is currently in the process of completing the pre-qualification of its products from its WHO-standard manufacturing complex at Ota, Ogun State,’’ the statement said.

The completion of the prequalification by the WHO will enable the company to export its products globally and to participate in multi-billion Naira donor-funded drug manufacturing and supply contracts in Nigeria, it said.

It added that it would also enable the country to undertake global contract manufacturing for other global pharmaceutical companies.

The statement, however, called on the government to reconsider the nation’s foreign direct investments policies to ensure that they transferred values to the Nigerian affiliates through domestic manufacturing and technical know-how.

“Some companies want to come in and have Nigerian partners; manufacture in factories overseas and ship to Nigeria.
“They also use you as an established name in the country to ride the market, establish their plants and take over the market.

So, we are being mindful of that and we are looking for partners that truly want the long-term partnership with us who want to transfer or to share technology; so, we’re open to that.

“It is something that we will be very glad to conclude as soon as possible,” the statement quoted Okafor as saying.

It also called for the establishment of a specific industry-based intervention and support fund for the Nigerian pharmaceutical industry.

The statement said the importance of the sector and opportunities therein for global relevance and foreign earnings justified such support.

“For the past two years, we have been talking about the N200 billion intervention funds that have never happened, we have been pushing it but we have not got anything out of it.

“We believe it is very important for our industry, especially as we are upgrading. We believe that for us to position well enough to compete with our Asian counterparts we need access to long-term funding.

“The major challenge we had or have in May & Baker is because most of the money we used to build The Pharma Centre was obtained from the banks.

“If you take a short-term fund and put it in a long-term project, you have the kind of situation we are having. It is something the industry needs,’’ it said.

He stressed the need for the Nigerian government and citizenry to imbibe the culture of supporting domestic manufacturing by patronising made-in-Nigeria goods.

“Nigerians need to have a culture of purchasing made in Nigeria products which they are not very good at. We need to think Nigeria both as citizens and government,’’ the statement said.