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Wockhardt buys Negma Lerads

Indian pharma company Wockhardt has entered into an agreement with Ifrah Finance of France to acquire Negma Lerads, a French pharmaceutical group to expand its EU presence

Indian pharmaceutical company Wockhardt has entered into an agreement with Ifrah Finance of France to acquire Negma Lerads, a French pharmaceutical group.

Negma, which is the fourth-largest independent pharmaceutical group in the EU, had sales of USD 150m in FY06 for USD 265m.

With the acquisition, Wockhardt is now the largest Indian pharmaceutical company in Europe with more than 1,500 employees.

The French acquisition further expands the company's EU infrastructure and will allow Wockhardt to extend the patented portfolio to other EU markets. The acquisition will also offer Wockhardt the right entry vehicle to enter the French generics market, which is valued at USD 2bn.

For Q1 FY07, revenue at Wockhardt increased 49 per cent to reach INR 5.2bn (USD 128m). Operating profit increased 68 per cent to INR 1.2bn (USD 28.4m), while operating margins increased 22.2 per cent. Profits before interest and tax increased 77 per cent to reach INR 978m (USD 24m).

FY06 saw the launch of skin treatment ointment, Vitix, which was licensed in from LSI, a UK-based pharmaceutical company, and a total of 41 new patents were filed.

Wockhardt reported that its US formulation business grew 44 per cent year on year, while five new product approvals were received. Wockhardt says its Europe business grew 93 per cent, with 10 new products launches.

Wockhardt's chairman, Habil Khorakiwala, said: "With this acquisition, we have stepped up our sales and are on the fast track to achieving our corporate strategy of the USD 1bn turnover by 2009."

Wockhardt already has 130 products on the European market, and says it will launch 24 more products over 2007. Negma is Wockhardt's fifth EU acquisition, with those of UK pharma companies Wallis and CP Pharmaceuticals, Esparma in Germany and Pinewood Laboratories in Ireland already completed.

9th May 2007

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