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Major Meds Distributor May Sell to Abramovich

SIA International, a major Russian pharmaceuticals distributor, is close to the conclusion of negotiations with Roman Abramovich's Millhouse Capital on the sale of its business. SIA has been in negotiations with Millhouse for several months. Its business is estimated to be worth $2 billion. A source close to SIA says that Pharmstandard, in which Millhouse owns 7 percent and Abramovich personally owns 17 percent, and SIA will become a vertically-integrated pharmaceutical holding. Several Millhouse shareholders have already bought SIA stock. SIA press secretary Dmitry Frolov and Millhouse representative John Mann both declined to comment on the deal.

ZAO SIA International Ltd was founded in 1993. Its turnover in 2006 was $2.16 billion. General director Igor Rudinsky owns about 80 percent of the company. The names of other shareholders have not been made public. The company also controls a number of pharmaceuticals producers, including Skopinpharm, Biokhimik, Sintez and the Usolye-Siberian pharmaceuticals plant.

Millhouse bought the Russian assets of the American ICN Pharmaceuticals in 2003 for $55 million. That deal included five production facilities and a pharmacy chain. They were combines with OOO Biovit, which has two pharmaceutical plants in Russia, and renamed Pharmstandard last year. Besides Abramovich and Millhouse, the other owners of Pharmstandard are chairman of the board Viktor Kharitonov (49%), Evgeny Kulkov (21%) and Millhouse head Evgeny Shvidler (6%).

The Russian pharmaceuticals industry has been hit by scandal in recent weeks. The Russian Prosecutor General's Office has accused distributors of inflating prices in the troubled supplemental medicinal coverage program. Now there is a conception for the creation of “pharmaceutical logistics complex” to serve the program, which will likely be based on existing distributors. SIA will receive additional fund for its development through the deal with Millhouse.


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