Alcon plans to build Singapore plant

May 1, 2008

As the Asian eye-care market begins to explode, Alcon Inc. is preparing to be close to the action by adding a manufacturing plant in Singapore. The 250,000-square-foot plant, which will employ 150 people, will manufacture pharmaceuticals to be distributed throughout Asia, with the exception of Japan.

Fort Worth, TX-As the Asian eye-care market begins to explode, Alcon Inc. is preparing to be close to the action by adding a manufacturing plant in Singapore.

The 250,000-square-foot plant, which will employ 150 people, will manufacture pharmaceuticals to be distributed throughout Asia, with the exception of Japan.

Today, that region is supplied from plants in Fort Worth, TX, and Puurs, Belgium, said Doug MacHatton, Alcon's vice president of investor relations and corporate communications. The company has a third plant in Barcelona, Spain.

"I think it's not only the cost [you save], it's the time and revenue that you're investing in a local area . . . that enhances your ability to gain contractual revenue," he said.

"It's an opportunity to invest in an area of tremendous growth," MacHatton added, noting that the company has witnessed growth in India, Vietnam, and other parts of southeast Asia. "We've already experienced growth, and Singapore's an excellent location," he said.

Alcon plans to break ground at the Tuas Biomedical Park in 2009, with the plant fully operational by 2012. The company expects to produce 53 million units per year by the third year of operation, compared with 125 million units per year from the Fort Worth plant and 110 units per year from the Puurs plant. Both of those sites employ about 250 people, according to Kat Golden, Alcon's manager, corporate communications.

"We do not expect to see a large increase in the site's overall employee headcount, because efficiencies will come from our putting in place today management, quality assurance, and engineering employees," she said.

Singapore's skilled workforce, stable government, and utility infrastructure make it a logical place in which to build a base for growth, MacHatton said.

"Given the rapid growth in this region, this plant is integral to our ability to meet future market demands," Ed McGough, Alcon's senior vice president, global manufacturing and technical operations, said in a prepared statement.