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      Piramal acquires UK-based pharma firm

      Posted AtInternational Herald Tribune

      A day after announcing an agreement with AstraZeneca AB of Sweden for the manufacture of intermediate active ingredients and bulk drugs, Indian pharma giant, Nicholas Piramal India Ltd (NPIL), on Thursday announced the acquisition of Avecia Pharmaceuticals, part of the UK-based Avecia Group, for roughly Rs 77 crores, inclusive of Avecia's pension fund deficit between GBP 8-9 million.

      "India has the advantage of providing low-cost manufacturing facilities to the pharma industry. The pharma companies abroad offer access to high end technologies. Such acquisitions provide us access to these technologies and at the same time, help us establish a physical proximity to our clients. We would also be looking to expand our manufacturing capacity in India. Our organic growth comprise of contracts like the recent announcements with AstraZeneca, while acquisitions such as Avecia and Rhodia, represent the company's inorganic growth. Avecia also comprises of Torcan Chemical Ltd, in Canada and 25 per cent ownership in Reaxa Ltd," added Nicholas Piramal chairman, Mr Ajay Piramal.

      Commenting on the transaction, Mr Piramal said, "Avecia has a long tradition of technology-driven, high-end services for the global pharmaceutical industry, driven by highly competent specialists. The merger of this business with our custom manufacturing group will go a long way in making the combined entity a truly global custom manufacturing player. We are confident of this business growing in the coming years, based on our combined global business development strength, technological skills and inherent India advantage."

      This transaction is the first step in NPIL's strategy of establishing such a winning global footprint for its custom manufacturing business. The reconfigured asset base will include access to leading early phase assets, including nearly 100 early-phase and launched products.

      This acquisition is NPIL's second transaction in the UK, after that of Rhodia's Inhalation Anaesthetics business in December 2004. The transaction is in the nature of a share purchase on a liabilities and cash-free basis and includes a working capital of GBP 8.8 million.

      October 28, 2005


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