Tue | Dec 18, 2018

New HQ for Bioprist, Indies Pharma

Published:Wednesday | September 19, 2018 | 12:00 AMSteven Jackson/ Senior Business Reporter
Dr Guna Muppuri, CEO and founder of Biprist Group and Indies Pharma Jamaica Limited.

The fast-growing Bioprist Group, which requires more space to operate, plans to move its headquarters and subsidiary Indies Pharma Jamaica to new and separate locations in St James, following acquisition and retrofitting costs at more than US$4 million.

Both entities will relocate from the Trade Centre in Montego Bay by year end.

It forms part of a wider long-term drive by the Bioprist Group to set up five commercial parks at a development cost of around $4 billion.

Bioprist manages outsourcing properties branded as Bioprist Knowledge Parks and operates a drug company. Four of the five parks are presently utilised in various capacities, mainly by overseas companies.

The outsourcing company is moving its headquarters to Park 1 at Pimento Way, Montego Freeport - a plan that includes the option of operating a call centre for Indies Pharma from that location.

Indies Pharma Jamaica Limited, a pharmaceutical distribution company which listed on the junior stock market in August, will move its head office to Park 2 at Providence Drive, four miles away in Ironshore. The property, which formerly housed a Rooms-to-Go furniture store, was acquired from Quality Dealers.

"Yes, Bioprist now will have its own global headquarters in Freeport, Montego Bay, with an indicative option to house the ever-growing Indies Pharma operations where this location will possibly serve as a strategic and/or optimal-size call-centre operation for Indies Pharma and to ship its products to its customers," said Dr Guna Muppuri, founder, president and CEO of Bioprist Group.

Indies Pharma currently distributes around 175 pharmaceutical products through retail channels and in collaboration with the National Health Fund in Jamaica. It also operates its own pharmacy called Trident. The value of the wider Bioprist group remains private, but Indies Pharma's stock market value is $5.3 billion based on Tuesday's closing price of $3.98 per share.

Bioprist owns the property in Montego Freeport through its subsidiary company Mercury Wireless Limited, which was one of the very first batch of special economic zones approved under the new regime, said Muppuri. That property was a former distressed asset that Bioprist acquired from Scotiabank and has repurposed, he said.

It is now being retrofitted for BPO operators from the United States and Canada, who are getting their places ready for "900 -plus jobs," Muppuri added.

Park 1 at Freeport will span 80,000 square feet of space on completion, but all the space is already fully allotted to the BPO clients and Bioprist.

 

FEATURES OF THE LOCATION

 

The location will feature a 3,000-square foot gym, 2,000-square foot cafeteria, bill payment and ATM services, a medical and dental centre, and five studio residences to accommodate expatriate employees of the BPO clients.

Park 2, located at Providence Drive in Ironshore, encompasses 48,000-square feet, at least 50 per cent of which is reserved Indies Pharma, while the rest will be available to BPO operators.

"However, if Indies Pharma demands more storage space with its expansion plans in place, we may have to reserve this space in its entirety for Indies Pharma," Muppuri said.

"Currently, renovation and rebuilding works are under progress and we are expecting to have the premises ready by the end of this year. Upon completion, the total acquisition and renovation and rebuilding costs will be no less than, or could be in excess of, US$4 million," he said.

Muppuri's venture in real estate occurred by "accident" when searching for locations to establish a medical school, a project which is still in the design stage.

Bioprist is planning another knowledge park at Ironshore, Park 3, which Muppuri plans to name the Bioprist SME Park.

Two other parks are already in operation at Sandy Bay in the parish Hanover, an 88,000-square foot operation tenanted by Collective Solutions from the United States; and a 60,000-square foot centre, at Lucea in the same parish.

Muppuri said he will also be rolling out a residential development on surrounding property, called Winfra Homes, comprising 100 patio homes and 50 apartments to facilitate the housing needs of the BPO operations.

Bioprist subsidiary company West Indies Infrastructure Development Consortium Limited also plans to build a luxury high rise condominium complex on the waterfront at Montego Freeport, called Las Marinas.

steven.jackson@gleanerjm.com