SIMPOR Pharma, the country’s flagship Halal pharmaceutical manufacturing initiative, yesterday played host to the Minister of Health at its headquarters in the Salambigar Industrial Park.
As part of a working visit programme, the Minister of Health, Pehin Orang Kaya Johan Pahlawan Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Adanan bin Begawan Pehin Siraja Khatib Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Mohd Yusof spent half a day touring the joint venture facility that manufacturers a number of products for both local and foreign consumption.
Established in 2013, the company has been working closely with the Brunei Economic Development Board (BEDB). It currently manufactures fish oil, calcium tablets, vitamin C powder sachets and hand sanitisers with the daily capacity to produce 40 million softgels, 50 million tablets and 7.2 million capsules, and 20,000 tonnes of powder and granules as well as 324 tonnes of cream and gels per year under the expertise of Viva Pharmaceutical Inc from Canada.
Viva holds 51 per cent of the company’s stakes and the remaining is divided between the Ministry of Finance and a group of local investors.
Canada is the company’s current main overseas market and the Pharma major has now set its sights on expanding to North America, the Middle East and neighbouring Asean countries. It currently employs 43 individuals including 27 locals and plans to increase the headcount to 150. Simpor’s current positive state of operations can be attributed to BEDB’s hands-on approach that has supported in dealing with governmental paperwork for approvals and permits, including planning and construction, obtai-ning manufacturing certificates as well as the Brunei Halal certification.
Apart from boosting and diversifying Brunei’s economy, the company also aims to provide Bruneians and the world with a guaranteed source of Halal pharmaceutical, health and cosmetic products, increase health awareness for the people of Brunei and to become a training hub for local Bruneians in the fields of pharmaceutical, biotechnology, chemistry and other relevant areas.