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Sanofi starts work on $95 million Algerian plant, biggest in Africa

PARIS (Reuters) - French drugmaker Sanofi has started construction of a new 70 million-euro ($95 million) plant in Algeria that will be its largest industrial site in Africa, the company said on Thursday.

Sanofi, the international drug company with the biggest sales in Africa, already has two other manufacturing sites in Algeria and Chief Executive Chris Viehbacher described Africa earlier this year as "an extremely interesting market".

With new opportunities opening up for treating chronic diseases afflicting Africa's middle classes, rather than just fire-fighting infections, the region is attracting growing attention from European drug firms like Sanofi and GlaxoSmithKline.

According to forecasts by pharmaceuticals consultancy IMS Health, medicine spending in Africa is expected to reach $30 billion by 2016, driven by an annual growth rate of more than 10 percent.

(Reporting by Ben Hirschler; Editing by Greg Mahlich)