Leading global healthcare solutions provider and manufacturer, B. Braun Melsungen AG, is set to open a regional office in Ghana to serve as a hub for its foray into the West Africa Sub Region.
The company has begun the processes leading to the establishment of the office, including business registration, and this was announced during the 3rd German-African Business Summit held in Accra last week.
Group Chairman and CEO of B. Braun Melsungen AG, Prof. Dr Heinz-Walter Große, said that B. Braun was in the sub-region for the long haul and was building sustainable systems and structures to offer the full range of services and products that had made the German company a household name regarding pharmaceutical products, medical devices and hospital equipment.
In an interview on the sidelines of the 3rd German – African Business Summit (GABS 2019) at the Kempinski Gold Coast City Hotel in Accra, Prof. Große said that while the company sought to bring its products and services closer to its market, it found Ghana’s political and socio-economic stability an ideal motivation for setting up camp as it prepared to reach out to the sub-region.
Prof. Große who also doubles as the Chairman of the African Initiative for Sub-Saharan Africa, a creation of the German Ministry of Trade and Commerce for the promotion of business with Africa, said the family-owned business of 180 years old which employed about 64,000 people world-wide, came to the market with a wealth of experience to best serve the needs of clients, protect and improve the health of people around the world.
B. Braun achieves this objective by supplying hospitals with over 120,000 different kinds of products from its four divisions (Hospital Care, Aesculap, Out Patients Market (OPM) and B. Braun Avitum). The product lines range from pharmaceutical products, medical devices and equipment, dialysis machines and surgical tools and instruments.
“When it comes to Africa we have been active here for the past 50 years operating in different countries through our dealers. We have established our local subsidiary in South Africa which has been active for the past 25 years where we have approximately 800 employees.
“We produce infusion solutions in South Africa and in Kenya where we recently established another local subsidiary,” he said.
He said overall, the company had about €130 million turnover in Africa and desired to expand that to €200 million by year 2020. The West Africa office being set up in Accra, Ghana, whose management has already been announced, will be expected to manage a portfolio of about €25 million.
“Competition is something we have to contend with and we do have our corporate strategies to deal with that. We do not compromise on the quality of our products. We enter into the African market with the same standard of products as we make for our European and US markets.
“We also know of Ghana’s competent healthcare professionals who are ready to offer high quality health care to the populace and so will work with them to achieve mutual goals”, said Petty Nwinitcha Tanghanwaye Nmo, the Managing Director of B. Braun Ghana.
“The problem of counterfeiting in the global market is well known to B. Braun and it is not peculiar to Ghana. You may be aware that the new Falsified Medical Directive (FMD) recently became operational within the EU.
“This directive obliges manufacturers of pharmaceutical products to serialize their products by printing a GS1 data matrix on each saleable unit. By the serialisation, you can actually trace the product from production until its final destination.
“We are aware that many markets are not yet ready to fulfill this requirement but from our side, we are ready with all the technical set-up and know-how to make this a reality,” added Pierre Nasser, Senior Vice President of B. Braun Melsungen AG’s Hospital Care Division for Middle East and Africa.
On the question of what promise the sub-region held for the company as it finalised the setting up of its operational hub in Ghana, Dieter Gemmer, Senior Vice President, Finance and Control of B. Braun Melsungen AG, told Graphic Online that there was so much professional experience at the disposal of the company.
“At least you have to be aware that we are not now coming to Africa. We have been here for a long time and have enjoyed long and fruitful relationships with key stakeholders. We have co-operated with many key opinion leaders in the execution of a number of projects not only on the consumables side but also on the investments side. So we are familiar with the terrain, and we know of the situation of Ghana.
“In our opinion a lot of indicators have been positively developed in recent times; the interest rate has stabilised, we have seen GDP growth rate last year of eight per cent and Ghana remains one of the five fastest growing economies in Africa. We think this is a stabilised country to set up a regional office for our operations,” he said.
Success for B. Braun, according to Prof. Große, would revolve around the sustainable implementation of core goals, introduction of value-added products and spreading itself beyond the immediate market reach.
“The corporate strategy of B. Braun is to grow progressively – from working with our local distributors to establishing our own subsidiary and then we begin local manufacturing of our products. We see Africa not only as a marketplace where we can sell our products but also where we can provide value- added processes and services,” he said.