The Slovenia Times

Lek to build US$400 million production facility in Lendava

Investment & Real EstateSpotlight
Economy Minister Matjaž Han (right) and Lek CEO Robert Ljoljo sign a memorandum of understanding for Lek's new investment. Photo: Nebojša Tejić/STA

Lek, the Ljubljana-based pharmaceutical company which is part of the Swiss generics group Sandoz, will build a US$400 million high-tech production centre for biosimilars in Lendava, in north-eastern Slovenia. The investment is to create around 300 new jobs.

The memorandum of understanding on the investment was signed on 9 March by Robert Ljoljo, CEO of Lek and Sandoz Slovenia president, and Minister of the Economy, Tourism and Sport Han.

Prime Minister Robert Golob, who was present at the signing, said the government would support the €379 million investment with an incentive of between 50 million and 55 million euros.

This will be one of the largest foreign direct investments in Slovenia ever and the largest single investment in Lek's history. Founded in 1946, the company was taken over by the Swiss pharmaceutical giant Novartis in 2002.

Sandoz CEO Richard Saynor said construction should start this year and production is to be launched within three to five years.

The 300 new jobs foreseen will include mostly highly qualified professionals. Saynor is optimistic about recruitment because the company has worked closely with universities.

Slovenia was not chosen by coincidence. "Here we have a long history and we see a bright future for our further business," he said. He lauded Slovenia's scientific environment and stable political framework.

Sandoz chose Lendava, where Lek has an anti-infectives production facility and packaging of finished dosage forms, because it finds proximity of European production and commercial operations as well as cost competitiveness important.

"With the biosimilars plant, we plan to meet the growing demand for these medicines worldwide," Saynor added.

Prime Minister Golob said the investment proved Slovenia had a thriving economy, a stable political environment and an attractive business environment. He expects "more similar stories" to follow in the coming months.

Golob and Han stressed the importance of the investment for Prekmurje, Slovenia's least developed region. Golob believes it will help the region narrow its development gap.


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