Quintiles Transnational, the world’s largest pharmaceuticals services company, expects to double its business in Asia over the next five to 10 years as the region’s emerging economies experience “dramatic” growth in demand for medicines.
Dennis Gillings, chairman and chief executive of the privately held US group, said Quintiles had grown strongly through the global financial crisis because big pharmaceutical companies had stepped up efforts to cut costs by outsourcing sales and research.
However, he said the main reason for the rapid growth of the group’s Asian business was rising incomes, which were generating “dramatic shifts” in spending on pharmaceuticals across the region.
“The reason to move to Asia is that is where the economies are growing, the amount of pharmaceuticals that gets sold is growing dramatically and the research base is growing from scratch and expanding,” he said in an interview with the Financial Times.
Mr Gillings, who is a leading shareholder in Quintiles, said he expected the group’s Asian business to grow from a fifth of the global total to 25 per cent within two years, and then to a third in five to 10 years. The group employs 24,000 people worldwide.
“I would be surprised if that didn’t happen,” he said. Quintiles does not publish detailed financial reports but says its research, sales, consulting and agency businesses earn global revenues of a little less than $3bn.
“Looking forward 10 years we will have all the same expertise here and the same size, if not larger, than in any other geographic region, no question,” he said.
“I would imagine we would also have a lot more managerial leadership in this part of the world. I also believe we would be doing a lot more partnering with China and India in terms of research activities going on.”
Mr Gillings, who is one of three big shareholders in the group, said there were no plans for an initial public offering. But he said a subsidiary listing on an Asian stock exchange was a long-term possibility.
“I’m not saying [a primary Asian listing] has never crossed our minds, but at the moment, with a global company where the majority of our business is in North America and Europe we would probably think of those exchanges being favourites,” he said.
“However, in the long run one could think of China, India, Singapore or Hong Kong as possible, depending how everything goes.”
Bain Capital and TPG group, the US private equity firms, are leading shareholders in Quintiles. The UK’s 3i and Singapore’s Temasek are also shareholders.