Zentiva will take on Eczacibasi's pharma manufacturing and marketing segment as well as the fine chemicals and active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) division, to form Eczacibasi-Zentiva. The transaction is expected to be completed in the first half of this year, and after two years the remaining 25 per cent stake retained by Eczacibasi can be sold to Zentiva. This is Zentiva's largest acquisition to date, and gives the company another European base alongside its leading positions in the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Romania. The acquisition will give Zentiva control of Eczacibasi's Lüleburgaz 60,000m2 formulation plant, which has a capacity of 400m dosage form units per year. The site currently has EU approval and is expecting US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval later this year. The plant was upgraded in November 2005 to increase production of the company's cephalosporin antibiotics for export. Eczacibasi's fine chemical and API plant in çerkezköy also forms part of the acquisition, and currently manufactures over 30 types of API with a capacity of over 80 cubic metres. The site incorporates hydrogenation and coating units, quality control laboratories and a pilot production plant. The complex also has the facilities to manufacture beta-lactam APIs in an independent building with separate units for penicillin and cephalosporin, and has separate drying, milling and packaging rooms with filtered air-handling systems and pressurised corridors to prevent contamination. Eczacibasi has a portfolio of branded generic pharmaceuticals focusing largely on anti-infectives and cardiovascular products, but also offers contract manufacturing and warehousing services as well as APIs to third party manufacturers. According to the company, in 2006 Eczacibasi held approximately 3 per cent of the total pharmaceutical market in terms of value, ranking it third among generic players in the field. Zentiva intends to "promote a more focused generics portfolio" within the Turkish company, and anticipates a positive impact on the company's earnings growth as a result of the acquisition. The company plans to introduce its higher margin branded generic products to the primary care market in Turkey through Eczacibaºi's distribution capacity, and introduce some of Eczacibasi's products in Zentiva's existing markets. According to the company, Turkey has a rapidly growing pharmaceutical market and is expected to emerge as one of the world's top 10 pharma markets by 2010. Growth, fuelled by ongoing reform in the healthcare sector, increasing use of modern branded generic products and the introduction of more advanced drugs has lead to a favourable outlook for the Turkish market and "provided the strategic impetus for Zentiva to enter the Turkish market with a leading market position." Zentiva also announced last week its entry into the Hungarian market with the acquisition of "certain generic products, personnel and other operating assets from sanofi-aventis." 23 sanofi-aventis products were acquired in the move, with combined sales of approximately €11m in 2006. Both these recent acquisitions are indicative of Zentiva's aim to extend its geographic reach and enhance its position in the Central and Eastern European pharmaceutical market.