Sun Pharma goes after opiates with deal to buy GSK’s Aus business

By Fiona BARRY contact

- Last updated on GMT

Poppy plant and pod
Poppy plant and pod

Related tags: Sun pharma, Morphine

Indian giant Sun Pharma has bought GSK’s Australian Opiates business.

The purchase includes manufacturing sites in Latrobe, Tasmania, and Port Fairy, Victoria, as well as a portfolio of opiate products.

These include poppy-derived opiate raw materials used to manufacture of analgesics for moderate to severe pain.

Sun Pharma told reporters all employees from both sites will be offered jobs after it takes over, adding that “the future of the Opiates business will be secured as part of Sun Pharma, a company with a global footprint.​”

First of many opiate M&As?

The acquisition is part of Sun Pharma’s larger strategy which aims to build an opiates portfolio, according to Iftach Seri, Sun Pharma’s Executive VP of API business.

GSK said the sale will simplify its operations in Australia and let it focus on its product portfolio and growing its business within the country.  

The Opiates business has been an important part of our Australian business for many years, but as our portfolio transitions, we believe now is the right time to hand this business over to someone else,​” said Steve Morris, General Manager, GSK Opiates.

Sun Pharma has an established footprint in this market and, with the addition of our highly skilled employees, I believe they are well-placed to take the business forward.​”

The financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed. The deal is expected to close by August this year.

Ranbaxy deal

In a call with investors last month, Dilip Shanghvi, Sun Pharma MD, said the company has received approval for its $3.2bn takeover of Ranbaxy from the US Fair Trade Commission, as well as the Competition Commission of India.

With this, most of the approvals have been received while we await approval from the Honourable High Court of Punjab and Haryana. In India, the process of divestment of 7 brands, as mandated by the Competition Commission of India is on-going. We expect to close the transaction during this fiscal year,​” said Shanghvi.

The MD also referred to Sun Pharma’s facility in Halol, Gujarat, India, which is “implement[ing] corrective steps to address the observations indicated by the US FDA during their inspection in September 2014.​” Inspectors found incomplete records during a surprise visit to the plant.

Shanghvi said fixing the problem has “temporarily impacted our supplies for Q3” but the company expects “supplies to gradually improve from Q4 onwards.​”

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