Italy's Recordati has sold off Sophartex, a French subsidiary specialising in the contract manufacture of finished pharmaceutical dosage forms, continuing its strategy of divesting businesses outside its core focus of developing and marketing its own drug products.
Last year, Recordati announced its intention to sell off its pharmaceutical chemicals business, although it has had to retreat from this plan as the adverse operating environment affecting the broader chemicals sector have made it difficult to realise its objectives regarding the price of the unit.
Recordati has made €17.3 million from the sale of Sophartex to BTT Finances, a French investment group. The Italian firm acquired Sophartex in 2000 as part of the Bouchara group of French pharmaceutical companies, and will also recoup a loan of €5.3 million made to Bouchara-Recordati and the distribution of a €3 million dividend, giving Recordati a total cash receipt of over €25 million.
Sophartex has been earmarked for sale since the acquisition of Bouchara as it has never been considered strategic for the development of the Recordati group.
Giovanni Recordati, the company's chief executive, said: "We intend to expand our direct presence into other important European pharmaceutical markets as well as to increase our product portfolio not only through our own research activities but also through the acquisition of new product licenses and it is to this end that we need to optimise the use of both our financial and management resources."
To this end, Recordati has also just announced the €20 million purchase of an additional stake in Poland's Polfa Kutno, giving it around 16 per cent of the firm and making it the largest single shareholder. The company reiterated its intention to raise this stake up to 49.99 per cent, although US generics firm IVAX is also eyeing the company.
Poland has the largest pharmaceutical market of all the countries that will join 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.