AstraZeneca ramps up business in Russia with new £145m drugs factory

Sarah Spickernell
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The company first revealed its intention to build business in Russia five year s ago
The company first revealed its plan to build business in Russia five years ago (Source: Getty)

AstraZeneca opened a $224m (£145m) drugs factory near Moscow today, strengthening its long-term commitment to building business in Russia.

The British pharmaceutical firm will use the facility to manufacture and package medicines, allowing it to domestically manufacture over 60 per cent of the drugs it sells In Russia.

In an attempt to encourage local industry, Moscow has imposed tough limits on the number of medicines that can be imported into Russia from other countries. This makes it difficult for companies like AstraZeneca to supply drugs without having factories present in the country.

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Based in the Kaluga region to the south-west of the capital, the new operation is expected to reach production capacity two years from now, resulting in the creation of around 850m tablets ranging across 30 different medicines every year.

In 2011 the company said it was planning to increase medicine production in Russia as part of its wider strategy to expand into emerging markets. The plan seems to be working so far – in the first half of 2015, its sales in Russia went up 30 per cent to $116m.

AstraZeneca's factory represents the biggest foreign investment made into any pharmaceutical facility across Russia.

Investors failed to be pleased by the opening, with shares in the company currently down 2.79 per cent at 4,041p.

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