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Sanofi won't take part in mega-deal trend

CEO says French firm will stick to bolt-on acquisitions
Sanofi reception

Sanofi's CEO Christopher Viehbacher said today the French company has no plans for huge mergers or acquisitions of its own, despite the renewed focus on mega-deals within the pharma industry.

Speaking at the company's announcement of its financial results for Q1 2014, Viehbacher said that Sanofi is more likely to continue its strategy of bolt-on acquisitions of smaller firms to boost its business in emerging markets, consumer health and animal health.

US-based pharma company Pfizer confirmed this week that it is interested in merging with British rival AstraZeneca in a deal worth over $100bn, while fellow pharma majors GlaxoSmithKline, Lilly and Novartis last week agreed to shift various company assets in a series of multibillion dollar deals.

Meanwhile, rising Canadian company Valeant is also said to be interested in a $45bn merger with Allergan and generics firm Mylan is attempting to buy Swedish company Meda for $9bn.

Rather than follow this trend, Viehbacher told shareholders that Sanofi plans a more pragmatic approach to company growth.

"If we can continue to bolt onto our growth platforms we'll continue to do so,” he said, as reported by Reuters. “That supposes we can find acquisitions at a price that delivers value to Sanofi shareholders. Quite honestly, when I look at the prices paid that's not always possible to do."

Sanofi's last major acquisition was its purchase of US biotech Genzyme in 2011 for over $20bn, adding major drugs such as MS treatment Aubagio (teriflunomide) and Fabry disease drug Fabrazyme (agalsidase beta) to its portfolio.

Since then, the company's acquisition approach has been more low key, including the €350m purchase of animal health company Dosch and the deal to buy Colombian pharma manufacturing firm Genfar.

Alongside Viehbacher's remarks on acquisition strategy he outlined Q1 results that saw group sales increase by 3.5 per cent to €7.8bn at constant exchange rates.

This was led by a strong performance from Sanofi's growth platforms, including diabetes and consumer health.

Net income was also up by 5.6 per cent to €1.5bn at constant exchange rates, although when assessed on a reported basis, this was a loss of 3.2 per cent.

Article by
Thomas Meek

29th April 2014

From: Sales

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