Mergers and acquisitions have set India's pharmaceuticals industry on fire.
Actavis, the Icelandic company with interests in low-cost unbranded drugs, or generics, is about to acquire its third facility in the country. Actavis had a 2006 turnover of euro 1.4 billion (Rs 8,000 crore).
According to sources, Actavis is all set to announce the acquisition of the Active Pharmaceutical Ingredient (API) manufacturing facility of Chennai-based Sanmar Pharma, a part of the Rs 1,500 crore Sanmar Group, which has interests in engineering and chemicals manufacturing.
Sanmar Chemplast MD Murli Ramachandran did not return calls. E-mails to his account went unanswered.
Actavis will buy the unit from Sanmar for close to Rs 120 crore. The Icelandic company is looking at establishing a prominent presence in this part of Asia, and has already invested in strategic acquisition of key manufacturing sites to augment its reach in the sub-continent.
Sanmar Pharma's sale of the API facility seems to be a signal towards its professed movement towards biotechnology research in pharmaceuticals. The company had acquired life sciences company Bangalore Genei in 2004.
The API facility would further spur Actavis' plans in India.
The facility, which has a capacity of manufacturing the basic chemical of new drugs, fits into Actavis' plans for supplying cost-competitive drugs in the US markets, where it is trying to gain a foothold.
Actavis CEO Robert Wessman will be in India from February 15 to inaugurate its own API facility and finalise the transaction. Official Actavis sources refused comment on the acquisition. This would be Actavis' third acquisition since the February 2005 buyout of Lotus Laboratories and the December 2006 takeover of Chennai-based Grandix Pharmaceuticals.
Grandix provided Actavis with its first manufacturing capability in India and a facility from which to develop and manufacture products for the US and key markets in Europe.
Actavis intends to increase the manufacturing capacity of the plant to approximately 4 billion tablets over the next 18 months and strengthen the development and regulatory affairs units.
At the same time, Actavis has opened a new API development unit, which allows Actavis to backward-integrate its business.
The aim of this unit is to develop 10-15 products a year and it has already started development of the first 10.