WuXi eyes major growth in 2015 with plans to spend big

WuXi CEO Ge Li

WuXi PharmaTech ($WX) posted a record revenue year in 2014, and China's largest CRO is planning to increase its internal investments in hopes of delivering double-digit growth.

Last year, WuXi grew revenue 16.6% to $674.3 million, driven by a 14.2% leap in its lab services business and a 23.8% increase in manufacturing dollars. Closing out the year, WuXi banked $190.6 million in the fourth quarter, 21.3% better than the prior period, and finished 2014 with $112.2 million in profits.

Now the CRO is forecasting 2015 revenue between $790 million and $800 million, good for 18% growth at midpoint. To get there, WuXi is planning to spend up to $200 million on capital projects, nearly double last year's budget, building new manufacturing outposts in China and expanding the company's genomics heft with new lab capacity.

"We are also investing aggressively in 2015 in new businesses to seize opportunities for further growth," CEO Ge Li said in a statement. "We have been good at planting seeds when we see emerging business opportunities, and we don't hesitate to invest to capture growing demand and to capitalize on market trends."

The broader goal is to differentiate WuXi as a value-adding partner for global R&D, not just a box-checking contractor, according to Li.

Last month, the company secured a $165 million loan facility to pay for its latest expansions, including new facilities in China and the U.S.

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