Mumbai: After striking a deal for a strategic stake in Dabur Pharma Ltd, India’s largest anti-cancer drug maker by revenue, Germany’s Fresenius Kabi AG is set to make its debut in the Rs800 crore annual cancer therapy market here.
The proposed acquisition will help Fresenius, which has been present in India for more than a decade with a range of nutritional fluids and emergency care products through a wholly-owned subsidiary, and also strengthen its global anti-cancer portfolio.
Fresenius, which has annual revenues of $12 billion, would also significantly gain from the research pipeline of Dabur, which has around 15 new products under development, as well as a generics presence in about 40 countries. “We will also look at the research capabilities of Dabur in India to complement our R&D efforts in the cancer therapy segment,” said a senior executive at Fresenius India, who didn’t want to be named.
Since the cancer drug business is mainly driven through a hospital-based sales strategy, Fresenius is expected to significantly leverage its predominantly hospital-based network for Dabur’s products.
A 73.27% stake in Dabur Pharma for about Rs880 crore is among the biggest acquisitions by a foreign company in the Indian pharmaceutical sector.
Fresenius’ Asia Pacific arm Fresenius Kabi (Singapore) Pte. Ltd agreed to buy the stake at Rs76.50 a share from the promoters and certain other shareholders. Dabur Pharma shares closed Rs69.15 on Thursday, the last day of trading on the Bombay Stock Exchange. Dabur Group’s promoters, members of the Burman family, hold a 65% stake in the company, while the rest is held by six institutional investors, including Morgan Stanley, International Finance Corporation and Reliance Capital Trustee Co, and the public. Last year, the Delhi-based company had sold its non-oncology formulations business, mostly comprising cardiac and anti-diabetes drugs, to Vadodara-based Alembic Ltd for Rs159 crore, to focus on cancer treatment drugs. In 2003, Dabur hived off its pharmaceutical division from the consumer products business. Dabur Pharma has repeatedly denied talk of the sale, after The Economic Times first reported it.