US-headquartered generics manufacturer Ivax has cleared one obstacle in its battle to acquire a majority stake in Polish drugmaker Polfa Kutno.
Poland's anti-monopoly office has granted approval for such a deal, clearing Ivax to continue to jostle for control of Polfa with Recordati, an Italian pharmaceutical company specialising in drugs and pharmaceutical chemicals. The latter has already amassed a quarter stake in the Polish firm, by buying shares on the open market and in a recent open bid.
Ivax has the backing of Polfa's management in the deal, but the US company still needs approval from the Polish Securities Commission to complete its plan. Israel's Teva is also rumoured to be interested in the company.
Poland has the largest pharmaceutical market of all the countries that joined the European Union on 1 May, and Polfa Kutno is one of the country's major players. It has enjoyed average annual sales growth of 20 per cent over the 2000-3 period, with turnover of PLN 245.1 million (€51m) and net income at PLN 30.5 million in 2003.