The Recipharm Story
The Recipharm story began in 1995. One of Pharmacia’s tablet factories in Årsta south of Stockholm was due for closure following a decision to outsource tablet production to Italy. Thomas Eldered, Works Manager at the plant and Lars Backsell, head of Pharmacia’s Self-Care Division saw the plant’s potential and staged a management buyout. At the formation of Recip (as it was known), it had 140 staff, a turnover of SEK 220 million and in-house products with Apoteket as primary customer.
The extrovert and overtly market-orientated Backsell plus the analytical, rather more reserved Eldered were a somewhat mismatched but successful pair of co-owners, complementing each other in personality and experience. They succeeded in getting the staff on side and rapidly created a strong business culture. Management and staff were both heavily involved and firmly dedicated to creating a complete company, and a strong entrepreneurial spirit grew up. Comprehensive environmental work was initiated which gave the company a strong competitive advantage. The company’s environmental profile remains an important element of Recipharm.
Between 1998 and 2004, a further three plants for the manufacture of various preparations were acquired in Sweden and in 2001, the Recipharm brand was set up for outsourcing. A year later, the plants were reorganised into two separate subsidiaries. In 2007, the decision was taken to concentrate on outsourcing and the in-house products were sold off with the group taking the name Recipharm. As a contract manufacturer, Recipharm’s customers are pharma companies which place production of their products outside their own operations.
2007 also saw acquisition of the first factory outside Sweden, at Monts in France. Further acquisitions followed 2007 - 2010 in England, France, Switzerland, Germany, Sweden and Spain. Some of these involved plants under threat of closure and this has created a positive attitude from the outset amongst the staff in the new company. In several cases, major resources were been invested in the new plants to obtain certification for quality, environment and working environment. The group strategy is for subsidiaries to be autonomous and there are deliberate efforts to try and maintain local character.
Sixteen years after its beginning, the Recipharm group has production across 10 companies in five countries plus over 1800 employees and an annual turnover exceeding SEK 2.2 billion. Through all the changes and acquisitions, the original values and small business entrepreneurial spirit have been maintained and are now also one of four core values binding the operation together.