Ferrer starts a new era under the leadership of Carlos Ferrer Salat (b.1931-d.1998), an important figure in the history of contemporary Spain. Among his many achievements, he was founder and Chairman of the CEOE (the Spanish confederation of business organizations) and President of the European Economic and Social Committee. But his most important legacy in the world of business was Ferrer itself. He imbued the company with his singular vision of success based on innovation and internationalization.
It was this philosophy that led Ferrer, during the 1960s, to become a major player in the Spanish domestic market. This expansion was largely a consequence of the company’s own research, discovering and developing a number of important medicinal products.
The early 1970s saw Carlos Ferrer Salat’s belief in Europe and the importance of opening Spain up to the world put into practice. Ferrer started its international expansion by acquiring Trommsdorff GmbH, a German pharmaceutical company founded 1797 near Aachen in North Rhine-Westphalia. Its new manufacturing plant was opened in 1975. The process of internationalization continued with the establishment of affiliates in the important emerging markets of Latin America.
Towards the end of the decade, Ferrer moved towards full vertical integration with the founding of two fine chemicals companies. Exquim (1976) commercialized fine chemical raw materials and Interquim (1978) manufactured active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) and intermediates.
As ever, the commitment to innovation was continual; 1977 saw the inauguration of a new purpose-built R&D centre in Barcelona, equipped and organized to carry out pharmaceutical research from discovery all the way through to registration.
The importance of innovation to Ferrer was further demonstrated in 1984 by the establishment the Ferrer Research Foundation (Fundación Ferrer Investigación) with its biannual Severo Ochoa Prize for biomedical research.
Ferrer also maintains a longstanding commitment to industrial activity, and the importance of ensuring vertical integration lead to the implementation of good manufacturing practice (GMP) in all of Ferrer’s manufacturing plants. This focus on quality manufacturing put the company at the forefront of technology.
Diversification continued with the acquisition in 1988 of Zoster, a world leader in the extraction of chemicals from vegetable sources for the food and pharmaceutical sectors. The expansion of Medir Ferrer and Ferrer Alimentación further strengthened the company’s presence in the food additive and fine chemical sectors
The 90s saw one of the most important developments in Ferrer’s presence in the pharmaceutical sector, with the opening of its hospital sales business unit. This strategic line focuses on advanced technologies and therapies in the fields of oncology, intensive medicine and palliative care. Its pharmaceutical products, medical devices and hospital equipment now represent nearly 20% of total company sales.
Further improvements in technology, research and manufacturing in the chemical division served to reinforce Ferrer’s presence in the food sector.
By the start of the new millennium Ferrer, now under the leadership of Sergi Ferrer-Salat, had already established itself as one of the top Spanish innovative pharmaceutical companies. During the following decade, this position was consolidated by eight consecutive years of double-digit growth.
At the same time, new subsidiaries, joint ventures and acquisitions in Southern Europe and Latin America extended Ferrer's international presence. International sales now represent nearly 50% of the total.
Ferrer has also made a number of key acquisitions in prescription, OTC, vaccinations, chemicals and animal nutrition. Now Ferrer’s products and services cover the entire healthcare spectrum.
But this expansion has been combined with an increased awareness of the question of sustainability. Across Ferrer’s many centres, environmental concerns are prioritized, with the highest standards applied to manufacturing processes and relevant certification being implemented across the board.
Ferrer’s state-of-the-art logistics centre and the enlargement of the pharmaceutical manufacturing centre have been designed to obtain Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) accreditation awarded by the US Green Building Council for environmentally sustainable construction.