April 7/Singapore/The Business Times Singapore -- U.S. pharmaceuticals maker Wyeth is investing $96 million to expand its $170 million Singapore manufacturing plant to meet growing regional demand for its infant formula and milk products.

The state-of-the-art Singapore facility, while maintaining the strictest operational and quality standards, will produce its key brands of nutrition products for infants and toddlers, including formula and milk products sold under the Progress and Promise names, it said.

The expansion will boost the plant's capacity -- which Wyeth did not disclose -- by 50% to enable it to increase its supply to the Singapore market, as well as for export to other key markets in the Asia-Pacific.

Wyeth said that the Singapore expansion marks the final phase of a $500 million capital improvement project in the Asia-Pacific. The project includes previously announced investments in its nutrition manufacturing and supply operations in China and the Philippines.

The U.S. pharmaceutical group's manufacturing presence here started in 2001, when it invested $300 million in two plants in Tuas Biomedical Park, one producing hormone replacement therapy (HRT) pharmaceuticals and the other infant nutrition products.

However, in late-2003, it wound up its $130 million, 28,000-square-meter HRT plant due to falling demand for post-menstrual HRT products, leaving it with the 43,000-square-meter nutritional products facility. At that time, company officials said that it had looked at other manufacturing options for the HRT plant but had found none to be feasible.

Today, it is the nutrition products plant that is seeing further expansion.

Mark Larsen, Wyeth's president for Asia-Pacific and Nutritionals, said, "This investment reflects Wyeth's 90-year heritage of scientific innovation and commitment to paediatric nutrition.

"A key element of our company's mission is ensuring that infants and children have access to the best and highest quality products. This site will help us to continue to achieve that objective."

EDB assistant managing director Aw Kah Peng said, "The EDB is committed to ensuring the ongoing success of Singapore by maintaining a pro-business environment that facilitates multinational companies' global expansion.

"This multi-million dollar intensive project provides further testament of Singapore's strategic position as a key partner to leverage on opportunities in the expanding Asian market. We look forward to continuing our strong partnership with Wyeth."

From the April 14, 2008, Prepared Foods e-Flash