By Sumeet Chatterjee and Zeba Siddiqui
HONG KONG/MUMBAI (Reuters) – Shanghai Fosun Pharmaceutical Group Co Ltd has agreed to buy an 86 percent stake in Gland Pharma – backed by KKR & Co LP – for up to $1.3 billion, the largest acquisition of an Indian company from abroad this year.
The deal, announced by the two sides on Thursday, is the first major move by the Fosun group since Guo Guangchang, founder of flagship holding firm Fosun International Ltd and one of China’s best-known entrepreneurs, briefly went missing late last year.
The acquisition, subject to regulatory approvals, would also underscore a positive outlook for drugmakers in India, which is a major global supplier and counts the United States as its largest export market, helped by lower manufacturing and labor costs.
Gland Pharma, based in the southern city of Hyderabad, owns four factories from where it supplies a variety of injectables – widely used medicines administered through vials, syringes, bags and pumps, which are harder to make than regular medicines.
Moody’s Indian associate ICRA expects patents to expire on about $16 billion worth of injectables in the United States over four years through 2019, offering a growth opportunity for Indian suppliers. ICRA estimates the U.S. injectables market to grow at about 10 percent annually over five years.
Shanghai Fosun said in a statement it would buy 86.1 percent of Gland, and planned to raise up to $800 million in loans from financial institutions to help fund the deal.
ANZ and Standard Chartered are providing the one-year bridge loan to Shanghai Fosun, Thomson Reuters LPC reported.
Fosun group is also looking for opportunities in Britain and Europe, in markets rendered increasingly volatile by Britons’ vote to leave the European Union, billionaire Guo said at a Reuters Newsmaker event last month.
KKR, which invested in Gland in 2014, is selling all its stake in the company, while Gland’s founders will retain a stake, according to a statement.
They jointly hold roughly 96 percent of the drugmaker.
Gland’s founder P.V.N. Raju and his son Ravi Penmetsa will remain on the Gland board, with Penmetsa also retaining his position as managing director and chief executive.
Besides Fosun, the Gland sale attracted interest from private equity firm Advent, medical company Baxter International Inc and drugmaker Torrent Pharmaceuticals Ltd, people close to the matter told Reuters in April.
Jefferies advised Gland and KKR on the deal.
Indian television station CNBC TV18 cited Gland saying it expected the deal to be completed in a few months and did not see any hurdle.
Reuters reported earlier on Thursday a deal had been agreed.
Opportunities for injectables in the United States have attracted large pharmaceutical firms such as Mylan NV, which bought the injectables business of Strides Shasun Ltd in 2013.
Hospira, a large U.S.-based injectables firm, was bought by Pfizer Inc last year.
(Additional reporting by Tris Pan; Writing by Devidutta Tripathy; Editing by Susan Fenton and Mark Potter)