ZURICH: Novartis’s potential sale of its Sandoz generic drug business is attracting interest from possible buyers, Chief Executive Vas Narasimhan said in an interview to be published on Friday.
The Swiss pharmaceuticals company raised the prospect of divesting Sandoz in October after years of revamping the business, as price pressures mount in the off-patent drug sector.
Investment group EQT and the Struengmann family, who are investors in BioNTech, are considering a joint offer for Sandoz, German media reported in November.
“I have read that as well,” Narasimhan told German weekly magazine WirtschaftsWoche in an interview.
“There have been various requests for more information. But no concrete offers,” he added.
Novartis would decide by the end of 2022 how to proceed with Sandoz, which achieved sales of $9.7 billion last year, about 20% of the group’s total, Narasimhan added.
“The question we need to clarify by then is: Will Sandoz be more successful in the future within or outside the Novartis organization?”
“What is clear is that we want to focus Novartis primarily on innovative medicines. We generate 80% of our sales and 80 to 90% of our profits with new medicines, for example for cancer, cardiovascular problems or genetic diseases.”
Novartis recently sold its 33% stake in Roche to its Basel rival for $21 billion. Narasimhan said the cash could be used for acquisitions, share buybacks or both.
But he ruled out a large deal.
“We are not interested in a very large deal. In the past few years, Novartis has not closed a transaction over ten billion dollars. Most of our acquisitions have been less than one billion.”Business Recorder
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