An executive on Tuesday said that the West African market was ripe for Ghanaian pharmaceutical companies to explore.
He said Ghana?s reputation was high in the sub-region for quality top class products and so would be of great booster for Ghanaian pharmaceutical companies.
Kwesi Yirenkyi, Managing Director (MD) for Starwin Products Ltd, Plc said this in an interview with Xinhua after announcing the company?s Rights Issue to raise 10 million Ghana cedis or 3.33 million U.S. dollars to shore up its capital base.
He said there were excellent prospects in the sub-regional market for Ghanaian companies, adding: ?We were within our shells in the past, but now new opportunities are here so we have to work hard towards them,? Yirenkyi said.
The government of Ghana, through the Export Development and Agriculture Investment Fund (EDAIF), has been supporting local pharmaceutical companies to penetrate the West African market.
Ghana and Nigeria are the only countries in the sub-region with manufacturing plants for pharmaceuticals.
Yirenkyi observed that capacity had been the problem of the Ghanaian companies, compared with Nigerian companies that had huge capacities.
?However, Ghanaian products have better reputation in the sub- region, which gives the local manufacturers the competitive edge over the others,? he added.
According to him, the Rights Issue, when completed, would grant Starwin some resource space to restructure some of its payables (debts).
It will also establish a second factory to venture into the production of malaria drugs, antibiotics and Hypertension medications for both the Ghanaian and sub-regional markets.
The company also seeks to build additional warehouses, procure equipment for the new factory as well as purchase more distribution vans.
?Malaria drugs are in the highest demand in West Africa because we live in a malaria endemic area,? the MD noted, adding that the Ebola crisis would end in due course to reopen the full prospects in the sub-region.
Starwin, which already operates a sales outlet in Sierra Leone, was the first local pharmaceutical company established in Ghana.
It evolved from an American pharmaceutical company, Sterlin Products International Ltd, which was established in Ghana in 1960, before changing its name to Starwin Products in 1993 after it was taken over by Ghanaians.
It got listed on the Ghana Stock Exchange (GSE) in 2004 where it trades 74.2 million shares out of its 500 million authorized shares.
The Rights Issue, which opened last Monday, closes on November 17, with 333.4 million shares up for grabs by existing shareholders.
Yirenkyi said one of the reasons informing ?the decision to do the Rights Issue was that the Interest payments on credit was choking the profits, thereby preventing shareholders from getting enough dividends.
Finance Manager for Starwin John Tetteh said the difficulty in the West African market was that the Anglophone countries traded among themselves as the Francophones did not allow pharmaceuticals from Anglophone countries.
Michael Darko, Executive Director for IC Securities, the Transaction Advisors for Starwin Products, said his company had worked with the pharmaceuticals company since January to put together the prospectus, emphasizing that it was an excellent offer being made.
Source: Justice Lee Adoboe ||?Xinhua