June 18, 2009 / 6:54 AM / 10 years ago

Omega sees fast growth outside W. Europe-magazine

BRUSSELS, June 18 (Reuters) - Belgian health products distributor Omega Pharma OMEP.BR is confident its plans for global expansion will bear fruit, with considerable growth in emerging economies, its chief told Belgian magazine Trends.

Chief Executive Marc Coucke told the weekly magazine that Omega was sowing the seeds to make its “rest of the world” activities outside western Europe the fastest growing in 2012.

“I think that all those little companies with a turnover of one, two or three million which we have bought now will be able to have a turnover of 10 million (euros) ($13.9 million) in five years time,” Coucke said in the interview published on Thursday.

Omega sell prescription-free medicines and healthcare products, over-the-counter (OTC) items such as wart treatments, mosquito repellent, vitamins, pregnancy tests and sun tan lotions, and was the world number 14 OTC player last year.

Although the crisis had forced Omega to seek 30 million euros in cost savings, it was also presenting opportunities for future growth, with acquisitions in Brazil, Russia India and China becoming more affordable, Coucke said.

“In the long run it is of course our intention to become a world player,” Coucke said.

He declined to comment on which countries the group might be investing in next, but said he wanted to act fast.

Omega had for the first time introduced zero-based budgeting, forcing it to justify all costs rather than just cost increases from one year to the next.

“It is a fairy tale to believe that companies will come out of this crisis stronger. It is very anti-Omega to have to save 30 million euros but if we learn how to cope with that, we will take a huge step forward.” ($1=.7214 Euro) (Reporting by Antonia van de Velde; Editing by Jon Loades-Carter)

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