Albemarle has agreed to sell its ibuprofen business to US chemical intermediates firm SI Group in a deal that will also see it divest the anaesthetic agent, propofol.
Baton Rouge, Louisana, US-based Albemarle announced the divestiture this week ahead of its first quarter results presentation, explaining that the deal will include its active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) manufacturing site in Orangeburg, South Carolina.
Albemarle, which describes itself as a leading ibuprofen supplier alongside companies like BASF, Lonza, Cilag-AG and Clarient, did not say what prompted the divestiture but did say that selling the unit will allow it to focus on its specialty chemicals business.
Ibuprofen is the API in a wide variety of prescription and over-the-counter pain medications and has been Albemarle’s best-selling bulk ingredient for more than a decade according to the company’s SEC filings .
Albemarle’s performance chemicals segment, of which the ibuprofen API business is a part, saw sales fall 1% to $360m and income decline 11% to $71.2m in the quarter ended March 31, 2014.
However, Albemarle’s attributed the flat sales to the impact of unfavourable pricing on its fire safety solutions business, rather than lower demand for pharmaceutical ingredients. The firm is due to hold its earnings call in a few hours.
SI Group said the acquisition “will position the company as one of the top three global suppliers of Ibuprofen” adding that it is also buying Albemarle’s antioxidents business and manufacturing facility in Jinshan, China.
Spokeswoman Kate Chauvin told in-Pharmatechnologist.com that: “This acquisition is in lockstep with our strategy to expand beyond our core businesses by adding complementary products and technologies aligned with global megatrends.”
She added that: “Until closing, it’s business as usual. We’re tremendously excited for the future. We are gaining incredible talent, technology and assets that leverage our core capabilities.”
Albemarle declined to comment when contacted by in-Pharmatechnologist.com.