Contract Pharma: Is this your first time at CPhI China? What are your goals here?
Michael Faller: Yes, it is. Our company is going international. We recently bought a company in Denmark and will opena new site in Poland in October. Of course we are interested in perspectives in the emerging markets.
China and India are our focus markets in Asia, and that's why we're at CPhI China. We want to get a feel for the Chinese market, how it works, what the customers need, and more.
CP: What are your perceptions so far?
MF: We need to get our name out. Not having had a presence in China before, it's not easy to make a splash. We had an interesting meeting with a Chinese attendee who works in an international company in Europe.
CP: Talk about globalization!
MF: Some of our international customers have presences here in China, and we want to see if we can meet with them during the event so we can talk about service offerings, like co-packing in Europe. That way, they could make their product locally in blister-packs, ship it to Germany, then we'll produce the folding cartons, leaflets, labels, and all the packaging and documentation for European distribution.
CP: Are you looking mainly for those multinationals that are operating in China, or also for local Chinese companies?
MF: For the moment, we're looking for international companies, but we're also interested in the Chinese market, longer term. We're thinking about opening a production site here. We want to start something in the next few years. So, to that end, we'd also like to develop Chinese customers.
It's tough to build that awareness, but if you don't come, you don't have a chance at all.
CP: How long has Faller been operating?
MF: The company was founded in 1882. I'm the fourth-generation Faller at the company! We have nearly 1,000 employees and revenues are around €100 million annually. For the European market, we're one of the bigger companies, we specialize in pharmaceutical supply and that's our unique selling point. Other companies in our area tend to have only one product, like folding cartons or labels, and operate in different industries. We went the other way around 20 years ago, providing pharma packaging only.
CP: What led to that decision? The higher margins of pharma?
MF: We decided that, if you focus on one market, you're better off; you understand the problems of customers better than if you spread your efforts across different markets. That's part of our culture and a key to our success, specializing on a single market.
CP: What's been the biggest change since you joined the company?
MF: Well, the last few years have been very hard for the pharma industry, because of the pressure on health costs, especially in Europe. We think that the emerging markets are important for our future development, with the population growing richer and having more healthcare demands. It will be a big market for pharma companies, and therefore a market for us!
Gil Y. Roth has been the editor of Contract Pharma since its debut in 1999.