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‘Asia will still remain the region with the highest growth rates’

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Sanner evolved from being a cork cutter and trader in 1894, into the number one supplier for pharmaceutical plastic packaging with integrated desiccants. With revenues of Euro 55 million in 2013, what is the target for this financial year?

Holger Frank

2013 was yet again a good year for Sanner. With a 10 per cent growth, we surpassed the Euro 55 million mark. We not only increased our sales volume by 10 per cent, we also further enhanced our leading position in the pharma, medical and healthcare markets. This year we plan to further increase this growth. To achieve this goal, we will focus on developing and launching new products and on specific customer projects, for which we develop tailor-made packaging solutions.

Which are the regions and countries showing fastest growth? What are the growth drivers?

Just like many other plastics and packaging manufacturers who are active in the pharma markets around the globe, Sanner also sees the established Asian markets such as China and India showing the highest potential for further growth. Although we see a decrease in the overall economic growth in China, Asia will still remain the region with the highest growth rates. We started opening up a new market in India last year, which will give the Sanner group new impulses. Furthermore, we are again expanding our production site in China. The building work will be finished in 2014 and will make it even easier for Sanner to deliver high-quality products to markets in Asia.

What is Sanner’s USP over competitors for its pharma customers?

We have been the experts and the world market leader in desiccant packaging for more than 60 years. As desiccants are among the cost drivers for packaging, our primary intention is to clarify the exact requirements of our customers concerning shelf-life and climatic conditions. Based on these requirements, we place our main focus on a tight package and then integrate the exact amount of desiccant. This way, we have been able to realise significant cost-savings for some of our customers.

Our second USP is the design and development of customised packaging. We have developed an extensive expertise in risk management and can draw on the competence to design a tailor-made package. Our customers don’t have to refer to a design agency, thus again significantly saving costs. Combined with our project management experience, open communication and fast decision processes within a project, our customers can be sure to receive a solution that fulfills their requirements and is perfectly compatible with their filling lines.

What are the technology and regulatory requirements for the manufacturing of integrated desiccants for the pharma industry?

The manufacturing process of our packaging systems complies with current Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) and should take place in a controlled environment. Above all, desiccants require a clean, dust-free and dry production environment. With our long-term experience in this field, our production sites offer the ideal conditions and comply with all such regulations.

What was behind the launch of a new logo and tagline at CPhI Worldwide 2013? What are the highlights of the new strategy for pharma and healthcare customers?

Sanner has refocused its strategy. The pharma, medical and healthcare markets have always been our home base, so we have now decided to concentrate on six market segments, which show the best potential for growth and innovation. Our new claim ‘Sanner. Protecting Health’ underlines this decision and highlights both standard and customised packaging for safe and precise pharma, healthcare and medical technology solutions. We want to send a clear signal to our customers: Sanner is your partner for pharma and healthcare packaging.

What will this mean for customers?

By dividing our pharma portfolio into six new product categories, we want to underline what Sanner can do best – develop reliable, cost-efficient and safe packaging solutions for customers around the globe.

The highlights of the Pharma Desiccant Packaging product category include the ‘360° Capsule’ desiccant capsules, which reliably protect products against moisture. Sanner has been the Asian market leader in Teststrip Packaging for many years. We have continuously developed our portfolio to include standard as well as customised solutions at a good price-performance-ratio. As global market leader in effervescent packaging, we continuously offer new solutions to our customers, for instance with FlipTop closures or our new system solutions for complete packaging with or without decoration. In the pharma and medical packaging category, the eye care and ready-to-fill syringes segments, we emphasise our long-standing engineering expertise. Continuous quality management, regular risk assessment and seamless documentation make sure that our customers receive highest quality products.

Sanner has been in India since 2013. What are the plans for the Indian market? Has the market performed as per expectations? Who are your major clients? What is the staff strength currently and any plans to increase headcount?

We have only just expanded our sales office in India and hired new sales representatives. We will continuously tap into this attractive market in the same way as we did in others. We concentrate on the major players and are very satisfied with the current development of our business. As a manufacturer we of course also always examine the option of a local production facility, once our sales have established a market with high potential.

What will be the strategies to achieve these targets?

We have defined the key players for Sanner in the Indian market. Against this background, our sales team has a clear sales strategy. We will also adapt our portfolio with products specifically designed for the requirements of the Indian market.

What are the trends, both on the customer/consumer side as well as technology side, that will drive the pharma packaging business?

We see three major trends, i.e. child-resistant (CR) packaging, barrier properties, compliance and anti-counterfeiting; all of which focus on the safety of both the product and the patient or end consumer.

Products must be safe for patients to use. A malfunctioning child-proof cap, for instance, can have dramatic consequences. In parallel to the trend toward more convenience, we also pay close attention to the patients’ safety, for instance with our CR TabTec container thus protecting children from wrong application.

To protect products from harmful external effects, it is important to use the appropriate packaging material. Sensitive products demand for higher barrier properties that keep permeation of water vapour and oxygen as low as possible to protect the content.

We are watching the regulatory developments with regard to compliance and anti-counterfeiting closely. As soon as international standards have been defined, we will come up with the matching solutions for rigid plastic packaging.

With these topics, we believe that we cover the most important trends and are well prepared for the future in our industry.

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