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09.07.2008

Russian drug firm Protek in talks with new partner

Russian pharmaceutical company Protek said on Tuesday it would announce a new partner within months after failing to tie up with Germany's Celesio.

"Within the next months the company will see a serious transaction which will significantly improve our financial condition," Timofey Prokopov, Protek's vice president for finance and investments, told investors and journalists.

"It could be either an IPO (initial public offering) or a private placement."

Prokopov said Protek was in talks with Britain's biggest pharmacy chain, Alliance Boots [AB.UL], and Germany's Phoenix on selling a stake.

"We are also consulting with Merrill Lynch and Goldman Sachs, but have not yet signed a mandate for a deal with them," he said.

Protek has been trying to attract a new investor since 2007. In October, it signed an agreement with Celesio on selling it a majority stake but the talks with the German company failed.

Prokopov said Celesio last week approached Protek again with the aim to resume negotiations.

"But I very much doubt that the deal will take place. Celesio had a chance to buy Protek with a 15 percent premium for control as the year 2007 was not successful for us," he said.

"Now, the situation has been improving and if we were to sell control, the premium would be not less than 70 percent."

Protek, a vertically integrated group that includes drug manufacturing, retail and distribution, had revenue of $2.4 billion in 2006.

Protek controls more than 20 percent of the Russian drug distribution market and owns the country's second-largest pharmacy chain, Rigla, which comprises more than 700 stores.


 
 


Source:  www.uk.reuters.com

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