German Pharma giant bullish on AEC
Merck, the Germany-based pharmaceutical and chemical giant, has seen a good opportunity to further grow its existing businesses in Asean with the upcoming Asean Economic Community (AEC) in 2015 and the opening of the Myanmar market where it plans to use its Thai operation to build business in the future.
The company's executive board chairman, Karl-Ludwig Kley, said last week that it was too early to say whether this growing business opportunity would lead to additional investment by the company in |the region, pending market evaluation.
Kley said his visits to Myanmar and Thailand this month were aimed at finding out what the company could expect from the upcoming AEC market, but added that it is too early to judge what it means to Merck.
However, the company would not just sit on the sidelines as the Asean economic zone was being formed, he said.
"Asean, for us, is a good market already and we strongly believe in the future of these countries, and the opening up of Myanmar for example, but also the further development of countries such as Thailand where we find a skilled labour base and a good infrastructure base.
Merck as a company is committed to the country's and our further growth here and in the region," said Kley, who has regularly visited Southeast Asia and Thailand over the past many years.
"I believe in the strength, ambition, and creativity of the people of Thailand and Southeast Asia," he added.
He said that any integrated economic zone would automatically foster growth in all the countries that are part of them.
Asean has a strong growth potential, which is why Merck expects to reap profits from this growth.
He added that the company was also buoyant on Myanmar where there was considerable potential for business as the country continued its reforms.
"We will use our Thai organisation to help build the business in Myanmar," he said.
He said Merck's business is very innovative and requires a lot of skilled personnel to market its products and work to customers and local partners.
Thailand's environment offered the company the skilled labour to support its businesses in the region, he added.
Merck Group's internationally oriented businesses cover two sectors - pharmaceuticals and chemicals.
There are Merck companies operating in 67 countries, with more than 40,000 employees worldwide. In the countries where it does not have its own operations, such as Myanmar and Cambodia, the company has marketed its products through dealers and distributors, added Panya Kitcharoenkarnkul, managing director of Merck Thailand.
Merck Thailand was established in 1991 as a joint venture between Merck, and B Grimm (Thailand). Its main activity is marketing the pharmaceutical and chemical products of Merck, and associated companies. It is now one of the major suppliers of chemicals and pharmaceuticals to hospitals, institutions and industries in Thailand.