Pharmaceutical company plans to invest $17 million in new Union County plant

An Indian pharmaceutical company plans to invest $17 million and open its first North American manufacturing facility in Monroe.

Glenmark Pharmaceuticals also intends to hire 41 people over its first three years for its plant, which will make generic drugs. The average annual wage is expected to be $68,000.

A pharmaceutical company has not operated in Union County in 20 years, said Chris Platé, executive director for Monroe-Union County Economic Development. He praised the move as a great way for the city and county to diversify their industrial commercial tax base.

“It now allows us to move more into that market,” Platé said.

City, county and state officials provided combined incentives of a little more than $1 million to help entice Glenmark to Monroe.

The city agreed to sell a 102,000-square-foot building to Glenmark for $2.96 million instead of the appraised price of $3.58 million. That $625,500 discount represented Monroe’s incentive for Glenmark, Platé said.

The 15-acre site at the Monroe Corporate Center is adjacent to Charlotte-Monroe Executive Airport.

County commissioners unanimously approved an economic development incentive grant of up to $340,000 over five years. And the state will provide about $61,500 for workers’ community college training specific to their jobs, according to Platé.

Glenmark had looked at other sites in North Carolina and the northeastern United States, Platé said. It already sells its products in the United States but wanted to start manufacturing drugs in this country.

In a statement, the company said it plans to make oral solid drugs as well as injectable and topical ones in Monroe. Its U.S. products cover dermatology, hormone and oncology needs, among other uses.

Production should start in Monroe by early spring 2015, according to Glenmark.

“The U.S. is a key strategic market, and it is important for us to have a manufacturing base here to serve our growing business in the country,” Glenmark Chairman Glenn Saldanha stated.

The company is based in Mumbai, India, employs more than 10,000 people in more than 80 countries and is publicly traded on two Indian exchanges. For its latest fiscal year that ended March 31, Glenmark said it had annual revenue of about $1 billion.

In Monroe, it will operate as Glenmark Generics, a subsidiary of Glenmark Pharmaceutical, county officials said.

Platé said the deal came together in just five weeks, the fastest project he’s dealt with in 20 years of economic development.

Glenmark is the first Indian company to locate in the county. Platé sees an opportunity to attract other Indian companies into an international mix that ranges from Colombia to Taiwan.