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IMA GROUP’S ITALIAN TECHNOLOGY IS HIDDEN IN ITS PHARMACEUTICALS

IMA GROUP’S ITALIAN TECHNOLOGY IS HIDDEN IN ITS PHARMACEUTICALS

It is used by millions of people across the globe – who ignore, however – that there is so much Italian technology inside the pharmaceutical products they use every day, or in the hot brews they savour throughout the day, morning and evening. Indeed, the global know-how behind these products is “Made in Italy”, in terms of the design and production of processing and packaging machines for pharmaceuticals and teabags. Thanks go to the IMA group , a business founded in 1961 which is preparing to celebrate its half-century of existence with a constant growth in terms of profits and markets “conquered”. The company – listed in the Italian Stock Exchange since 1995 – closed the financial year 2007 with an aggregated turnover of 454.5 million euros (+6.9% yearly), of which 92.2% earmarked for exports.

With over 90% of its turnover recorded abroad, an extremely strong international penchant is a key feature of this Italian player – which employs over 3,000 people (over 1,400 abroad) and is present in more than 70 countries. It is supported by a merchandising network of nine branches (Spain, Portugal, France, United Kingdom, Germany, Austria, United States, China and Thailand), representation offices in Central and Eastern Europe and more than 50 agencies. In terms of production, Ima Group is also global in reach: there are 17 plants between Italy, Germany, the UK, the Netherlands, the United States, India and China, where Ima is also involved in two joint-ventures with Chinese producers.

Ima’s main business unit is the one mainly dealing with machinery for the pharmaceutical industry, which contributes about 83% of total profits. Its beverage division, which accounts for the remaining 17%, offers the largest range of machinery for tea and herbal infusion packaging in filters, as well as for coffee pods. At the recent Interpack 2008, key packaging industry event worldwide, the Italian group showcased some interesting novelties in this area: “CA3”, monobloc machine capable of packing both soft and hard pods – for American-style coffee and traditional ‘espresso’ respectively, and “C27”, teabag packaging machine for environmentally-friendly filters, in which staples are replaced by a knot.

But as we said earlier, the pharmaceutical industry is Ima’s greatest customer, and for it Ima offers a complete range of machinery for solid dose processing and manufacturing: granulators, :capsule-banding machines, capsule fillers, coating machines, check weighting machinery and, thanks to the April 2007 acquisition of Zanchetta (specialist in machinery for the granulation and sorting of pharmaceutical powders) powder movement and washing systems. Another area of excellence is that of primary and secondary pharmaceutical packaging: the world’s largest range of blistering systems, from low to extremely high speed (up to 1,300 blisters per minute) is “Made in Italy”, thanks to Ima.

The Ima group also leads the niche of machines for liquid and solid powder and aseptic and non-aseptic processing, freeze-drying and labelling equipment. More specifically, their product portfolio ranges from medicine bottle-washing/blowing/sterilizing equipment, aseptic filling and closure systems for both the pharmaceutical and the cosmetics sector, aseptic powder microdosing machines, labelling equipment, bottle-blowing, unpacking and tray loading machinery In the pharmaceuticals freeze-drying plants, Ima group grew thanks to its recent acquisition (sealed in November 2007 for 36 million euros) of Group BOC Edwards Pharmaceuticals Systems’ freeze-drying producing plants, sector leader based in the USA.

There are a set of machines – horizontal and vertical cartoners - that are destined for both the pharmaceutical and the cosmetics industries, and are used for various products. The same goes for tube-filling machines, apt to fill pharmaceutical products as well as cosmetic, chemical, and food-based. Finally, Ima offers a complete range of end-of-line machinery for the pharmaceutical, cosmetics, confectionery, tea, coffee and tobacco industries.

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