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September 29, 2009

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Home » Business » Manufacturing

Solvay sells drugs unit to US

SOLVAY, the Belgian chemicals and drugs maker, announced yesterday that it is to sell its entire pharmaceutical business to Abbott Laboratories for 4.5 billion euros (US$6.6 billion).

The deal's value could jump to 5.2 billion euros if sales targets are met for certain drug products, triggering "potential payments" of up to 300 million euros. Abbott would also take on liabilities worth about 400 million euros.

The American company already holds marketing rights in the United States for Solvay's Trilipix and TriCor, drugs which raise "good" HDL cholesterol while reducing triglycerides and "bad" LDL cholesterol.

Solvay said the sale would let it "refocus" its activities, which also cover chemicals and plastics. The sale would be completed in the first quarter of 2010, pending antitrust approval from the Europe and the US.

"We are building a new refocused group with the financial means to further accelerate sustainable growth," Alois Michielsen, Solvay's chairman, said.

Miles White, chairman and chief executive of Abbot Laboratories, said the deal "expands our presence in key high-growth emerging markets," and boosts R&D investments. "In anticipation of future market needs, we are ensuring we have the technologies, products, infrastructure and reach to serve patients globally," White said.

The Illinois-based company makes and markets pharmaceutical and medical products in more than 130 countries and employs more than 72,000 people. In the last year, it bought contact lens maker Advanced Medical Optics, India-based Wockhart's nutritional business, eye care company Synchrony and Evalve, a maker of heart repair equipment.

Solvay Pharmaceuticals employs 9,000 people worldwide and had sales of 2.7 billion euros in 2008.


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