Global medical tech company picks Penang to house its first manufacturing facility in Southeast Asia


THE leading global medical technology company Smith + Nephew, has chosen Penang to house its first manufacturing facility in Southeast Asia.


The company’s manufacturing network strategy vice-president Ross Macken said the company specialises in surgical implants and advance wound care products.


“We are in business for over 160 years. We were established in 1856 in Hull, England. We still have a significant manufacturing facility in Hull, today.


“We have grown considerably since then, with an annual turnover now approaching US$5 billion,” he told a press conference during the investment announcement ceremony in Komtar today.


Macken said the company was supported by some 16,000 employees worldwide. Smith + Nephew also has a presence in more than 100 countries.


“We have considered many locations around the world before we selected Malaysia, specifically Penang, for our new world-class facility.


“Firstly, there are many high-tech companies in Penang, including medical device companies.


“Secondly, we know there is a highly-skilled and motivated workforce here. We are confident that we can offer great opportunities to local employees as we develop our new facility.


“Finally, Malaysia is very attractive to us. It has a stable economy, an establish infrastructure and a long history of foreign direct investment (FDI); all things that we value highly,” he said.


Macken said the plant in Batu Kawan, Penang, would primarily supports Smith + Nephew’s orthopaedics franchise which has been growing strongly recently in the Asia Pacific region.


“The orthopaedics products include our hip and knee implant products.


“The new facility will provide our manufacturing network with the much-needed additional capacity to serve our growing sales; and to ensure that we can continue to meet the needs of our customers and their patients,” he said.


Macken said the construction of the plant would begin in early next year (2020).


“We expect the first shipment of our products before the end of 2022. We expect to create up to 800 jobs over the first five years; and that includes roles in manufacturing, engineering and supply chain.


“We plan to start our recruitment process next year,” he said.


Macken added that the facility in Batu Kawan would be around 250,000sq ft with the opportunity for future expansion.


Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow said he was pleased with the new investment addition to the Batu Kawan Industrial Park; the industrial park that was developed by the Penang Development Corporation (PDC).


Chow speaking to the media during the press conference.


Chow said that Penang is poised to further enhance and expand its capability in medical technology and devices industry with the addition of Smith + Nephew.


“I would like to congratulate Smith + Nephew for this significant investment in Penang, Malaysia. We are proud to be your destination of choice for investment.”


Chow said the state recorded RM9.2 billion of total approved manufacturing investment in the first half of this year.


“I am very delighted to note that we will be recording this strategic investment from Smith + Nephew in the second half of this year,” he said.


Chow said the electrical and electronics (E&E) and semiconductor-related industries were the important pillars of the state’s export-driven economy for the past decades.


“However, the medical technology and devices industry is playing an increasingly important role in Penang over the past 10 years.


“Our well-connected industry ecosystem attracts high-quality medical technology and devices investments,” he said.


Chow added that the Penang government is committed to work with the Federal Government in attracting investments that are sustainable, as well as capital and technology-intensive.


“We would like to thank the Malaysian Investment Development Authority (MIDA) for working closely with investPenang in attracting high value investments; and the Ministry of Finance for granting and extending tax incentives to the high-tech new and reinvestment projects,” he said.


Later, Chow witnessed the exchange of documents between Macken and PDC general manager Datuk Mohd Bazid Abd Kahar.


Chow witnessing the exchange of documents between Macken and Mohd Bazid (second from left). With them is Dr Ramasamy (left).


Also present were Deputy Chief Minister II Prof Dr P. Ramasamy, MIDA Penang director Yusni Md Yusop, the Chief Minister’s special advisor Datuk Seri Lee Kah Choon, investPenang chief executive officer Datuk Loo Lee Lian and Smith + Nephew Malaysia manufacturing site leader Mark Arthun.


Story by Christopher Tan
Pix by Adleena Rahayu Ahmad Radzi
Video by Ahmad Adil Muhamad