Celltrion chief says he's pushing to build new plant in foreign country

By Yonhap
  • Published : Sept 30, 2017 - 11:31
  • Updated : Sept 30, 2017 - 11:31
The head of South Korean biopharmaceutical firm Celltrion Inc. said Friday that he is pushing to build the third plant in a foreign country due to geopolitical risks over North Korea's nuclear and missile programs.

Seo Jung-jin, chairman of the Celltrion Group, said he has made the decision at the request of foreign distributors, who have voiced concerns about possible disruptions of production and supply of biopharmaceutical products amid heightened tensions on the Korean Peninsula.

"Personally, I do not think that a war could break out, but a company has to be thoroughly prepared for any circumstances," Seo said in a surprise appearance at a temporary shareholders meeting in Incheon, a port city just west of Seoul.


He said he will make a decision in the first half of next year on which country the new plant will be located in.

North Korea and the United States have traded bellicose rhetoric over Pyongyang's nuclear and missile programs, stoking fears of a possible military conflict on the Korean Peninsula.

Celltrion has posted on its website that it is planning to build the third manufacturing plant with an additional capacity of

120,000 liters to meet growing demand for its products.

Celltrion began distributing Remsima -- a copy of Janssen Biotech, Inc.'s Remicade -- in overseas markets, such as Europe and the United States.

The company also began selling another biosimilar drug Truxima in Germany and in Britain earlier this year following approval from European regulators.

Also Friday, Celltrion said it has decided to get listed on the main bourse after being traded on the tech-heavy KOSDAQ market.

The decision will likely put Celltrion within the top 17 in terms of aggregate value of shares among companies listed in the Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI). At present the total value of the company's shares stands at around 17.5 trillion won

(US$15.3 billion).

The gathering came after small shareholders called on the company to be listed on the KOSPI, citing its greater vulnerability to short sellers and devaluation on the secondary stock market.

Celltrion is forecast to first seek to delist itself from the KOSDAQ while putting in a request for a preliminary examination so it can be traded on the KOSPI.

Celltrion, which had maintained its market cap status on the KOSDAQ, said its operating profit soared 79.4 percent on-year in the second quarter of 2017 helped by robust sales of its biosimilar Remsima in overseas markets. (Yonhap)