Acino Group, a publicly traded Swiss maker of generic drugs, said today it agreed to be acquired and taken private by two private equity firms for CHF 398 million ($441.6 million), saying the new investors have the resources that will allow the company to carry out its long-term growth strategy.
Through a wholly-owned subsidiary, Avista Capital Partners and Nordic Capital are offering to purchase all outstanding shares of Acino for CHF 115.00 ($127.60) per share in cash, then delist the company's shares from the SIX Swiss Exchange. The firms' tender offer is expected to commence Oct. 21.
Acino's board of directors unanimously resolved to support the tender offer, which is subject to a minimum acceptance by holders of two-thirds (66.67%) of Acino's shares, as well as other customary conditions and regulatory approvals.
As part of the deal, Håkan Björklund, M.D., Ph.D, is expected to become Acino's new chairman of the board. Dr. Björklund is an industry expert with Avista and is chairman of H. Lundbeck. From 1999 to 2011, he served as CEO of Nycomed under the ownership of Avista, Nordic Capital, and other institutional shareholders.
"We are convinced that the company provides an ideal platform for organic growth and add-on acquisitions. Avista and Nordic Capital have the expertise and the capital to contribute to a long-term growth strategy," Dr. Björklund said in a statement. "We are committed to providing the resources needed to develop Acino into an international specialty pharmaceutical business with a significant presence in attractive markets and product lines."
According to Acino, Avista and Nordic Capital "are prepared to commit substantial capital as well as utilize their experienced global healthcare network to expand upon Acino's growth strategy and fully capitalize on future opportunities. The investors also want Acino to continue operating its main sites in Switzerland and Germany, the company said.
Headquartered in Aesch, Switzerland, Acino has 788 employees and generated revenues of €143 million ($194.3 million) in the first half of 2013. In recent years, Acino has evolved from a Central European pharmaceutical supplier into a more diversified pharma company with worldwide operations. The company has anchored its growth strategy around driving value from its core competence in advanced drug delivery, and expanding its presence in emerging markets. Acino markets its medicines in 80 countries in the Middle East, Africa, Latin America, and Asia under the "Acino Switzerland" brand.
"The board of directors and management of Acino are convinced that substantial financial resources are required to further exploit the potential of the company's in-house innovation, drive sales growth, support profit improvements, and successfully strengthen its competitive position," Acino concluded.
The price is a 33% premium to Acino's closing share price on October 1-;the last trading day before the offer was announced-;and a 53% premium to the volume-weighted average price during the last 60 trading days prior to preannouncement.
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