SEOUL, South Korea—West Pharmaceutical Services Inc. is expanding its presence in two markets globally with new offices, one in South Korea and the other in India.
The company's expansion in South Korea comes as a result of an acquisition of the distribution business of GIS Korea Ltd., a privately owned medical device and health care product distributor in the regional market, according to Karen Flynn, West's chief operations officer.
West has partnered with GIS as a distributor since 2003, and brought the office with about 15 employees into the fold to build its regional presence, Flynn said. Financial details of the acquisition were not disclosed.
"We made a decision that we wanted to actually acquire the distributor so that West would have a direct presence with the customers in South Korea, because that market is so important," she said. "The (South) Korean market is growing pretty rapidly in regards to biopharmaceutical manufacturing."
West wants to be close to customers and provide technical consultation, building its presence in terms of participating in professional organizations and talking directly with regulatory bodies in the markets the company serves, she said.
"We felt we could best do that by having a direct presence in the market," Flynn said.
The office's scope covers South Korea right now, and West has other offices throughout Asia, Flynn said. The South Korean market has been growing quickly, faster than the average West business, which is in the 6-8 percent corridor. With its location in Southeast Asia, it is a very attractive market for West, and the acquisition of GIS will give the company even more prospects in the region. West also has offices in Singapore, China, India and Australia, and partners with Daikyo Seiko Ltd. for presence in Japan.
"Although we worked with a distributor there obviously for a long time and have tremendous respect for the people and their abilities, hence the acquisition, we feel like we can uncover even more value and opportunity for growth," Flynn said.
The location also provides some warehousing for West, and had done so even before the acquisition, Flynn said. West will be investing in the facility and employees at the Seoul facility "in accordance with the market needs," she said.
"Anticipating that this opportunity for West is going to deliver the value that justified the acquisition, we will be adding additional resources," she said. "I think right now, our focus will be on building out our technical service and scientific affairs capabilities to supplement the sales and distribution capabilities that we have there locally."
Though the company will be adding some employees, "it's not going to be material to West overall," Flynn said. The company employs about 8,000 worldwide.
"It's important for West because we want to have a direct presence. We go direct in most of the major countries in the world," Flynn said. "We do use some distributors in some of the smaller regions in which we operate. In terms of overall impact for West's business, it's still relatively small."