Switzerland’s Novartis AG and Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd of Israel are in the race to acquire a strategic stake in Aurobindo Pharma, a leading maker of low-cost drugs.
People close to the Hyderabad-based company, who did not want to be named, said the manufacturer of oral and sterile antibiotics is in advanced discussions with the global pharmaceutical giants.
Terms of the negotiations couldn’t be ascertained.
Repeated attempts to reach Aurobindo executives were unsuccessful. Novartis and Teva spokeswomen declined to comment citing their policies on not talking about speculation.
Aurobindo, which has 139 patents in the US and the European Union, posted sales of about Rs528 crore in its most recent quarter.
I shares have risen 55% in the past seven months, up from a 52-week low of Rs467.90 on 16 June 2006 to $724.35 in Monday’s trading.
P.V. Ramaprasad Reddy, chairman of Aurobindo, holds a 29.11% stake in the company.
Both Novartis and Teva have stressed the importance of India as a market, especially in the unbranded low-cost generic drugs business. Novartis is the world’s fifth largest pharmaceuticals company while Teva, which ranks in the Top 20 drug companies, is a major force in generics.end