GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare is set to increase its investment in high growth markets and Pakistan falls in this category, according to GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) Consumer Healthcare Middle East and Near East – Head of Finance Paul Marson. GSK consumer healthcare has decided to invest at least Rs2 billion in Pakistan over the next five years, Marson said.
In an interview with The Express Tribune on GSK’s new investment strategy, Marson said that about 18 months ago GSK had decided to aggressively invest in businesses in countries like Turkey, Egypt and Pakistan.
“GSK’s new strategy is to increase its investments in Pakistan,” he said. “Pakistan is one of the countries where we want to aggressively invest in the near future.”
According to Marson, Pakistan is a country where all economic indicators like GDP and population growth had shown a continuous growth trend that obviously attracts investors. “We are mindful of this fact that going forward this market will be big market for us and for this region,” he said referring to neighbouring India and China.
Citing the example of Turkey, he said GSK sales had increased from 500 million to 2,500 million pounds sterling in three years, after the implementation of a new strategy.
GSK had decided to reach new geographic expansions, other than the Middle East. This new strategy was implemented for both the pharmaceutical and consumer health care products of the company, he said, adding that the strategy was for high potential and high growth markets.
“The strategy is all about launching new products, bringing innovation and adopting new marketing strategy,” he said.
After the 2008 financial crisis, Marson said that a number of multinationals revisited their business strategies to cope with challenges and search for new opportunities, and this holds true for a number of multinationals who had shown interest in this region due to a high population and growth in the coming years, he added.
Addressing the question of security problems in Pakistan, he said that they were not as bad as what the international media portrayed, though he agreed that Pakistan suffers from an image problem, which can be overcome with time as more investors visit the country frequently.
When asked whether future investment affects the expected changes in tax structure in Pakistan, he said the company follows a local taxation system. “We are flexible to the local markets and we make tailor-made business model in countries where we invest,” he said.
Marson said the local team consists of skilled employees in Pakistan who were capable of performing at par with global standards. “We are confident that our new strategy will help us grow stronger with new investments,” he added.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 22nd, 2011.