Sun Pharma buys Hungarian plant

By Phil Taylor

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Sun pharma, European union

Sun Pharmaceutical Industries has become the second Indian
drugmaker in a matter of days to announce the purchase of a
manufacturing facility in Eastern Europe that will serve as a
springboard for expansion into the broader European marketplace.

Sun Pharma said yesterday it had bought raw materials and dosage form manufacturing operations in Hungary from Valeant Pharmaceuticals for an undisclosed sum. Earler this week, In-PharmaTechnologist.com reported that Strides Arcolab was purchasing a facility in Poland specialising in the manufacture of small-volume parenterals and sterile and non-sterile semi-solids products.

Dilip Shanghvi, Sun Pharma's managing director said the purchase will give the fifth-ranked Indian drug company an opportunity to enter the European generic market, 'building on our strengths in bulk actives and product development'.

Facilities in Eastern Europe are being targeted because they offer low operating costs but easy access to the large pharmaceutical markets of Western and Central Europe. With Hungary and Poland now part of the European Union as of 1 May 2004, Sun Pharma and Strides Arcolab stand to benefit from the free movement of goods in the EU, and also tap into the fast growth in the EU accession states' pharmaceutical sector. This is currently expanding at around 16 per cent a year, twice the rate of the 'old' EU states.

"This will complement our European entry strategy with our UK Medicines and Health products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) approved plant in India, and will allow for a quick product roll out,"​ he added.

The move marks the current trend for Indian drug companies to increase their marketing of finished pharmaceutical products in Europe and the US, to complement the Indian industry's already-strong presence in bulk active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) supply.

Meanwhile, Valeant said the sale of the Hungarian plant is one of the final pieces of its programme of divesting non-core operations, which includes a plan to reduce its production network to four manufacturing sites by the end of 2006.

Sun Pharma's move follows a number of other overseas acquisitions by Indian firms. In June, Torrent Pharmaceuticals agreed to buy German generics house Heumann Pharma for an undisclosed sum, while Matrix Laboratories unveiled plans to buy a 22 per cent controlling stake in Belgium's Docpharma for €217m - thought to be the largest overseas acquisition yet for the Indian pharmaceutical sector.

Meanwhile, earlier in the year, Malladi snapped up US active pharmaceutical ingredient supplier Novus Fine Chemicals for €19m, while in May UK-based contract researcher Synprotec was acquired by India's Dishman Pharmaceuticals and Chemicals.

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