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Acquired Sigma-Aldrich businesses part of Merck's Africa growth plan

By Gareth MacDonald+

26-Nov-2015

Acquired Sigma-Aldrich businesses part of Merck's Africa growth plan

New acquisition Sigma Aldrich will play a part in African growth plans in addition to giving it a presence in the preclinical services sector says Merck*.

Merck completed the $17bn (€16bn) takeover of Sigma Aldrich, including its SAFC and Bioreliance units, this month after the European Commission approved the deal.

In the weeks since the German life science supplier and drug firm has been working to integrate its new purchase into its EMD Millipore and to understand new business areas it has gained through the takeover.

Spokeswoman Renee Connolly told us Bioreliance’s analytical and preclinical toxicology testing services are “new areas for Merck and speaks to the expanded services we will be able to offer now.”

She also highlighted Sigma’s chemicals business as an area of expansion, explaining that: “Adding to the already strong Process Solutions business at Merck, the addition of SAFC brings large scale cell culture media, high potency API’s, new processing chemicals.”

Connolly decline to comment on the likelihood of cutbacks in areas where the firms have overlap, telling us “as we have just closed the transaction it would be premature to speculate on future set up.”

Completion of the deal came a few weeks after Merck announced its intention to expand its business in Africa, setting a target of annual sales of €500m in the continent by 2020.

The primary focus will be on growing drug sales in key market like South Africa, Kenya, Angola, Mozambique and Algeria – where it plans to set up a Glucophage plant – however, its Sigma-bolstered services business will also be involved.

Connolly told us “Today, Africa is not one of our major markets.  Based on demographic projections there is confirmation that Africa could offer us new potential for the future and will be an area we continue to explore as we come together.  

“Africa is a market we are looking at to grow. As a combined business, life science at Merck has about 19,000 employees with a presence in more than 65 countries. With this expanded geographic reach, we will be able to further enhance the access customers have to our more than 300,000 product portfolio and service offering.”

*Merck used to be known as Merck KGaA or “German Merck” but has recently adopted the simplified name.

The firm will continue to operate as EMD Serono and EMD Millipore for the time being to differentiate itself from US drug firm Merck & Co which – incidentally – is known as Merck Sharp & Dohme brand (MSD) outside the US and Canada.

There. Hope that makes things less murky.

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