German chemicals company Degussa has sold its Frankfurt/Main-based biopharmaceutical company Zentaris to Canadian firm AEterna Laboratories for approximately €50 million, the company said last week. The move is seen as part of its focus on speciality chemicals.
With the sale of Zentaris completed, Degussa has now divested the last of the activities of ASTA Medica.
Professor Utz-Hellmuth Felcht, management board chairman of Degussa, said the sale of Zentaris marked the transformation of Degussa into a 'pure speciality chemicals company'. Degussa is hoping to tap further market potential in the speciality chemicals sector, with activities in the Specialty Polymers and Health & Nutrition divisions.
Zentaris, established at the beginning of 2001 as a carve out of ASTA Medica, expects to report sales in the order of €21 million for the financial year 2002. The company specialises in innovative pharmaceutical products, particularly in tumour and hormone research. Æterna Laboratories is a late-stage biopharmaceutical company with a primary emphasis on cancer.
The chairman of Germany's third-largest chemical company also said in a statement that the company has made 'decisive progress' in the strengthening of core operations and in restructuring activities. Restructuring and process optimisation will continue in the future, with the aim of cutting 4,000 jobs globally by 2004.
In fiscal 2001, Degussa generated operating profits of more than €1 billion.