* Sees Greater China sales reaching 6 bln euros by 2015
* To spend 1.8 bln euros on capex in Asia over next 4 yrs (Adds quotes from CEO)
By Melanie Lee
SHANGHAI, Nov 16 Germany's largest drugmaker, Bayer AG, said it expects revenue in Asia to increase over 60 percent by 2015, driven by its cancer and cardiovascular drugs as well as its engineering plastics.
Bayer, which started producing the Aspirin painkiller in Shanghai as early as 1936, said that by 2015 it aimed to have sales in Asia of well over 11 billion euros ($14.9 billion), with about 6 billion euros coming from the Greater China region.
As part of a shift to focus more on emerging markets, unveiled about a year ago, Bayer will spend 1.8 billion euros as capital expenditure in Asia over the next 4 years.
"We have a strong foundation to build on because Bayer has decades-long tradition in Asia's most important markets," chief executive Marijn Dekkers, in Shanghai for the opening of its production facility, told a press conference.
Sales in Asia, where the company has spent 3.4 billion euros as capital expenditure over the past 10 years, amounted to 6.9 billion euros last year.
For its healthcare unit, Bayer plans to expand into medium-sized cities and rural areas in China to boost sales, Dekkers said.
OPPORTUNITIES IN OFF-PATENT, BRANDED DRUGS
Among the pharmaceuticals Bayer sells in China is the Nexavar pill, which helps treat the more than 300,000 new liver cancer cases that occur there every year. Bayer also makes transparent plastics that go into panoramic roofs and headlights of cars for the country's booming automotive industry.
Total sales in China, the world's third-largest pharmaceutical market, was around 3 billion euros in 2010, accounting for 8.3 percent of Bayer's global sales.
Last month, Bayer confirmed its full-year outlook and posted better than-expected quarterly earnings on strong growth in emerging markets.
Dekkers also said Bayer sees opportunities in off-patent, branded drugs business.
"If the branded generic is a product that is off the patent and has a brand, then, yes, we are looking for opportunities because we already have globally a lot of sales of products that are off-patent and branded," Dekkers said. ($1 = 0.739 euros) (Additional reporting Ludwig Burger in FRANKFURT; Writing by Kazunori Takada; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman)