The investment will further strengthen Bayer's considerable innovation footprint in Finland as well as boost Turku's position as the "contraceptive capital of the world". This investment is significant for both Bayer and Finland, says Miriam Holstein, CEO of Bayer Nordic.
"The Turku investment secures long-term supply, which is required to meet Bayer's global sustainability goals. One of these goals is to provide 100 million women in low- and middle-income countries with access to family planning and modern contraception by the end of 2030," says Holstein.
According to Holstein, Turku plays a significant role in Bayer's global sustainability strategy which is in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals. "The investment will further promote the measures that our Turku plant has already taken over the past 30 years, to achieve gender equality and support women and their families. This way we can make an impact on women's health and social status, education and family size," Holstein says.
Bayer's global sustainability goals go hand in hand with the Finnish government's goals.
Bayer's global sustainability goals and the role of the Turku operation go hand in hand with the Finnish government's goals – and Holstein says that the company has a solid, continuous dialogue with the government and other stakeholders. "Achieving the goals of sustainable development requires strong cooperation between the public and private sectors," she says.
The company's roots in Finland go back all the way to 1940s, so it's by no means a stranger to Finland. In addition to contraceptives, the company's product portfolio in Finland includes Bayer's prescription drugs, over-the-counter products, agricultural crop protection agents and control substances.
"Our international operations in Finland focus on prescription drugs: their research and development, production, and export of contraceptives to over 130 countries," explains Holstein. Bayer Finland's special expertise lies in products rooted in polymer-based drug delivery (contraceptive coils and implants), generating more than a billion euros in sales annually. Bayer's contraceptive coil is the first Finnish blockbuster in pharmaceuticals, with sales of over one billion since 2016.
Bayer's operations in Finland focus on prescription drugs research and development, production, and export to over 130 countries.
In fact, the contraceptive hormonal coil product family, developed and produced in Turku, is Bayer's third best-selling pharmaceutical product globally. "The economic success and impact of this Finnish innovation is a great example of collaboration between local research and global corporations with extensive global distribution channels and networks," says Holstein.
Bayer believes in Finland's unique and innovative ecosystem. Furthermore, Holstein remarks that Finland is an excellent environment for investment – there is outstanding infrastructure, highly skilled work force, long tradition of top research, extensive collaboration with universities, companies and authorities.
"From an international pharmaceutical company's point of view, Finland is a good environment for production of new products and research and development, due to enabling legislative base and predictable and stable operating environment," says Holstein. "Finland also comes on top in many rankings relating to stability, education, innovation and openness to digitalization."
Outstanding infrastructure, highly skilled work force and long tradition of top research are the base for an excellent business environment.
Tarja Enala, Senior Advisor, Health & Wellbeing at Invest in Finland, is glad to see Bayer strengthen their already remarkable operations in Finland. "We know that international companies come to Finland due to the strong local ecosystems and innovative edge – and Bayer is certainly one of the pioneering companies who has achieved great things here."
But what is the new Turku investment all about, then? The new production facility will be one of the most modern pharmaceutical plants out there, with automation and robotics utilized extensively throughout. The new production plant will be built in an existing building in Artukainen, Turku, where Bayer already has operations. The cutting-edge production plant will be completed by 2025.
Tomi Penttilä, Head of the Product Supply Center Turku, confirms that Bayer is building the production facility using the latest technology, such as digital data visualization and advanced robotics. "The facility layout is also designed to optimize both material and personnel flows, and thus improve our efficiency," Penttilä says.
In 2020, Bayer was the single largest corporate taxpayer in Finland.
"The current plant was established in the 1960s, and therefore investment is also needed to modernize our existing production facility. Both plants will meet the same high standards and will be needed to meet product demand."
The fact that Bayer is bolstering its presence in Finland is great news for the Finnish society as well – after all, in 2020, Bayer was the single largest corporate taxpayer in the country with €124 million. This is no one-off, either: during 2011 – 2020, Bayer has paid €1,2 billion in corporate taxes.
The Award is part of the Internationalization Award of the President of the Republic of Finland and it is presented to a foreign-owned company, operating in Finland, that has contributed significantly to the Finnish economy.