IVAX has offered to buy 75 to 100 per cent of Polfa Kutno for PLN 310 to 325 (€65-€68) a share, depending on the number received, in an all-stock transaction. In contrast, Recordati has offered PLN 287 per share and wants to acquire about 50 per cent of Polfa Kutno.
IVAX's offer seems to have the backing of the Polfa Kutno board, with chief executive Janusz Guy saying in a statement that the company is "excited about the prospects of becoming a member of IVAX' multinational operations".
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 and net income at PLN 30.5 million in 2003.
IVAX has also agreed to support Polfa Kutno's efforts to acquire shares of Jelfa, another of Poland's leading pharmaceutical companies, from the State Treasury. Jelfa has said it favours a link with a non-Polish company to expand its presence outside of the domestic market.
Along with its own IVAX Poland unit, the combined entity would be one of the leading pharmaceutical companies in Poland and Central Europe. Drug sales in Poland reached PLN 11.7 billion in 2002, up 3.5 per cent on 2001, according to data from IMS. 90 per cent of the Polish market is accounted for by generic drugs.