Tamer Group: 90 Years of service in HealTHcare and consumer Goods To communiTies across saudi arabia
This is just the kind of a compelling storythatwouldformthebasisfor a successful movie: a young phar- macist, recently graduated from
university comes to the bustling Red Sea portcityofJeddahintheearly1920s.He arrives to find not a single pharmacy oper- ating in the city, despite acute demand for medicines from local residents and the thousands of pilgrims passing through the port on their way to the holy city of Mecca.
So in 1922, Dr. Mohammed Said Tamer established the Kingdom’s first pharmacy. The pharmacist’s grandson, Ayman Tamer, is today the chairman and managing partner of the Tamer Group. In those early years, Ayman Tamer says, his grandfather would dispense medicine for free to those without means and charge those who could afford it. “The key was to treat as many patients as possible who needed healthcare services at that time.”
“Today, the same mission and val- ues are carried to the third genera- tion of the Tamer family, where integ- rity, honesty, hard work and talent are rewarded,” he adds.
This year, the Tamer Group is cel- ebrating 90 years of service to the
community. What began with a single pharmacy is today a leading Saudi conglomerate operating in the fields of pharmaceuticals, manufacturing, medi- cal instruments and supplies, high-end third-party logistics services, health insurance, hospital operations, phar- maceutical retail, and the distribution of nutrition, wellness, beauty and prestige products.
It’s clear that the entrepreneurial spirit that was present at the company’s found- ing has been a constant factor over the years. The founder’s two sons, Dr. Farouk Tamer and Maamoun Tamer, expanded the business to include the import and distribution of pharmaceuticals to serve the many pharmacies that opened in the years following the development of the Kingdom’s economy under the govern- ment’s guidance, according to Antoine Kayaleh, Tamer Group managing director.
“Spotting opportunities in medical supplies and the growing needs of Saudi consumers, the two sons further diversified the business by importing medical instruments and supplies and
Managing Partners of Tamer Group
fast-moving consumer goods,” Kay- aleh says. The third generation then expanded into pharmaceutical manu- facturing, tele-radiology services, third- party logistics, retail pharmacies and other investments—selecting these with an eye to today’s changing business and regulatory landscape, and the evolving nature of healthcare needs in the country.
Kayaleh points to three trends being addressed by the company’s growth strategy: an increase in diseases such as diabetes and obesity caused by poor eating habits and sedentary lifestyles; a growing population of older citizens; and a general interest among young people in beauty and well-being.
“As the number one distributor of phar- maceuticals, diabetes and cardiovas- cular drugs are a major category in our portfolio,” Kayaleh says. “In wellness, we continueaddingtoourportfolioofprod- ucts for seniors, as well as for the young who aspire to wellness and beauty. We are also manufacturing various products respondingtothesetrends.”
The group also is responding to liber- alization in the regulatory environment. Tyseer Tarifi, director of Tamer Group’s Consumer Division, says, “With more multinational companies moving toward direct distribution and operation [no longer needing a Saudi agent], we have leveraged our expertise in logistics and warehousing to launch our own third- party logistics services to support these foreign companies.”
Tamer Group, says Tarifi, is “a local, financially strong group with a long oper- ating history, diverse expertise across a range of businesses and market chan- nels, and an operating team ready to work with multinationals, making Tamer Group the destination of choice for any multinational seeking a solid partnership in Saudi Arabia.”
“We Are One Team”
In fact, partnership is an area of focus for the company, its executives say. “In today’s complex business environment, cooperationandsynchronizationofstrat- egies is important to reach the desired objectives,” Kayaleh says. Partnership provides a better model for collaboration and ensuring satisfied customers, he asserts. “Our principals are our partners, and together we are one team.”
Looking forward, the Tamer Group is focused on partnering with local and international firms to expand its drug manufacturing business. The company recently announced plans to purchase 500,000 square meters of land on which to build food and pharmaceutical manu- facturing facilities. It also is working to increase its footprint in retail, and has established a joint venture with two large pharmaceutical distribution companies to invest in a chain of pharmacies in the Kingdom and neighboring countries.
Tamer Group’s third-party logistics company has implemented RFID and warehouse management system tech- nologies that contributed to it being selected by Nestlé to be its third-party logistics services provider across the Kingdom. Aside from Nestlé, the com- pany has forged joint ventures and part- nerships with other international firms including Novartis, Daiichi Sankyo Co. Ltd. and Astellas Pharma Inc.
Expanding Healthcare Market
The government is investing billions of dollars to upgrade and expand the quality of medical care, includ- ing constructing 120 new hospitals to
complement the 244 already in opera- tion. This will help sustain the growing demand for healthcare products and services in the future. Plus, “there is ample room for growth, with per-capita consumption increasing as consumers are more aware of health issues and have the purchasing power to spend on healthcare products,” Kayaleh says.
The Saudi Ministry of Health estimates that the healthcare sector will be worth $36.24 billion by 2016. With annual pharmaceutical sales totaling $2.7 bil- lion, there is plenty of opportunity for the private sector, explains Tamer, since “the growth envisioned is too great for the public sector to execute alone.”
Dr. Mohammed Taher, managing direc- tor of the Pharmaceutical Division, says broader macroeconomic factors also support a bullish view of the Saudi mar- ket. Not only does the Kingdom have a longstanding track record of growth, but its economy is deepening and becom- ing increasingly diversified, providing “stability, growth potential and exposure to the wider region.”
Commitment to Community
The company’s deep sense of responsi- bility to its community led to the launch of its CSR program, SA’AID, explains Bahaa Abboud, Tamer’s organization develop- ment director. The program, which means “reaching out and collaborating” in Ara- bic, supports various health-education and awareness campaigns “targeting different sectors of the community, both inside and outside the group.”
These include health-education pro- grams in conjunction with universities and hospitals, as well as specific aware- ness-raising initiatives on diseases such as diabetes, cardio-metabolic syndrome and asthma. For employ- ees, Tamer offers emergency first-aid courses and recently signed up as a “Leadership Member” of the World Eco- nomic Forum’s Workplace Wellness Alli- ance, a group of companies committed to implementing best practice in work- place health.
A Pioneer and a Leader
As the Tamer Group looks to its future, it has articulated a clear goal. “We want to be the leading regional group provid- ing consumers in the region with health- care products and services, as well with nutrition, well-being and prestige prod- ucts,” Kayaleh says.
The company already is the leading distributor of pharmaceutical products in Saudi Arabia, supplying approximately 16% of the market. It also is the leader in many sectors of the medical instru- ments and supplies market, including cardiology, surgical, interventional and orthopedics. It is a major player in fast- moving consumer goods.
So what’s at the heart of the company’s success for 90 years and across three generations? “The deep-rooted desire to serve and help improve the quality of life of the citizens of the community has been the determining mission of the Tamer family since the time of its founding, and continues to be the mission of the Tamer Group today,” Ayman Tamer says.
Wouldn’t you know it? That’s just the sentiment you’d find in a great movie.