Nigeria is to join the league of vaccine-producing nations, as May & Baker has announced plans to open a vaccine production facility in the second quarter of 2023.
The Federal Government had in 2020 signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Biovaccine Nigeria Limited (BVNL) for the local production of vaccines. BVNL is a joint venture company between May & Baker Nigeria plc and the Federal Government aimed at resuscitating and advancing local production and development of vaccines.
Patrick Ajah, managing director and chief executive officer, May & Baker, told newsmen in Lagos that opening the vaccine facility is a top priority for the organisation in 2023.
“Let me announce a milestone achievement in our Joint Venture with the Federal Government of Nigeria – Biovaccines. On September 14, 2022, the Federal Executive Council (FEC) approved the first part of the MOU of Biovaccines with the Federal Ministry of Health for supply of routine immunisation vaccines.
“This is the first/major step towards vaccine production in Nigeria, as this allows Biovaccines to commence the engagement with the chosen technology transfer partners and subsequently initiate the design and construction of the greenfield project. We are optimistic that the ground-breaking ceremony for the vaccine production facility will happen before Q2 of 2023 and we will keep you all well informed on the dates and progress of events.”
The MD also informed that May&Baker would be making significant investments in new machines for its paracetamol plant and the pharmacentre to meet growing demands in the country.
Speaking further, Ajah said the organisation has continued to grow amid economic and environmental uncertainties. He announced that the total revenue in comparison to last year, grew from N 8.1 billion (January-September 2021) to N10.3 billion (January-September 2022) which represents about 27 percent growth.
He said profit before Tax (PBT) grew from N 1.3 billion(Jan-Sept 2021) to N 1.7 billion (Jan-Sept 2022) which represents about 31 percent growth; while working capital grew from N 5.3 billion(Jan-Sept 2021) to N 6.5 billion(Jan-Sept 2022) which represents about 23 percent growth.
He also said the total admin expenses to sales dropped from 10 percent (Jan-Sept 2021) to 8 percent (January-September 2022) which represents about 2 percent Cost savings.
The MD listed challenges such as the spiralling inflation, escalating energy and commodity prices; scarcity of foreign exchange, insecurity; (bandits, kidnappers), dwindling value of the naira; stuttering education system; skyrocketing debt profile; depleting foreign reserve, scarcity of fuel and rising fuel prices as some of the major factors that impacted the organisation in 2022.
He explained that the PBT was severely impacted by the significant increase in cost of goods and other operating costs. He said whereas revenue was growing at 27 percent, cost of goods was growing at 47 percent on average and the cost of paracetamol Active Pharmaceutical Ingredient (API) has doubled since last year.
“Other operating expenses grew by about 30 percent driven mostly by power which on its own was growing at more than 50 percent and even worse during gas outages. We were able to mitigate some of these costs with some marginal price increases, operational efficiencies driven by increasing volumes and better production planning and of course the reduction in admin expenses,” he added.
The MD, therefore, called for the adoption of a more holistic approach to resuscitate the stuttering economy, saying the indicators keep getting worse instead of improving.
He noted that the organisation managed to increase its revenue and profit due to its cost effective manufacturing hub in Ota, investment in advertising and promotion as well as the launch of its malaria products, among others.
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