The group enthused this week that it ended a turbulent 2020 by celebrating 100 years in South Africa, a century in which its operations across agriculture, pharmaceutical and consumer health have grown substantially. Picture: Khaya Ngwenya.
The group enthused this week that it ended a turbulent 2020 by celebrating 100 years in South Africa, a century in which its operations across agriculture, pharmaceutical and consumer health have grown substantially. Picture: Khaya Ngwenya.

Bayer to expand further into Southern Africa as it celebrates 100 years

By Banele Ginindza Time of article published Jun 21, 2021

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GLOBAL life sciences group Bayer is set for further expansion in Southern African as it celebrates 100 years of operations in this country, capped by a vibrant performance even in the Covid 19 lockdown period.

The group enthused this week that it ended a turbulent 2020 by celebrating 100 years in South Africa, a century in which its operations across agriculture, pharmaceutical and consumer health have grown substantially.

“This South African operation leads the market sales across all three business units on the continent and plays a vital role in facilitating Bayer’s expansion into the Southern African region. To be most effective, we focus our efforts on areas where our business has the greatest impact and where our efforts can have the greatest benefit,” South Africa chief executive Klaus Eckstein said.

Eckstein said despite staff working from home and only interacting with customers digitally, Bayer South Africa succeeded in continuing to deliver as a team, as a business, and as a supply chain, and maintained productivity during the tough lockdown months. “Maintaining business continuity was fundamental to that change,” said Eckstein.

The group’s focus is on improving people’s quality of life by preventing, alleviating or curing diseases and helping to provide an adequate supply of high-quality food, feed and renewable plant-based raw materials.

Bayer in South Africa is headquartered in Isando, Gauteng, and has 12 locations, key of which include a crop protection production site in Nigel, corn seed production sites in Brits and Thobontle (Lichtenburg), and vegetable seed production close to Oudtshoorn, as well as regional office sites in Paarl, Port Elizabeth and Durban.

Eckstein says that along with the many challenges posed to the business over the past year, specifically with serious disruptions in the supply chain within their pharma division, 2020 also provided a great opportunity, with an increase in sales within their extensive portfolio of vitamins and immune-strengthening brands, such as Calcivita and Berocca.

The life science company, with core capabilities in health care and agriculture, boasts a long history in South Africa dating back to 1920, when Taeuber & Corssen were appointed as agents of the then German chemical company, Bayer AG.

Following an evolutionary process spanning more than half a century, Bayer in South Africa formally came into existence in 1993, consolidating its activities locally across the industrial/chemical, agricultural, health care and consumer fields. Bayer was itself established in 1954. Bayer delivered a robust performance last year despite the pandemic, with group sales totalling €41.4 billion (R705.23bn).

One hundred years later, Bayer is a key player in the pharmaceutical manufacturing industry and one of the world’s leading innovative crop science companies, developing new molecules for use in innovative products and solutions to improve the health of humans and plants.

Innovative crop protection and seeds through its Crop Science Business, as well as its Pharmaceutical and Consumer Health divisions, make up the three South African business units within Bayer South Africa.

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