Elder Pharmaceuticals sells formulation business

Company will now focus on its in-licensing, anti-infectives and exports businesses

Debt-ridden Indian company Elder Pharmaceuticals has agreed to sell its domestic formulation business to another Indian drug maker, Torrent Pharmaceuticals, for Rs 20bn (US$321m). According to market observers, multinational drug majors like Sanofi and Novartis had been in talks with the Elder’s management with a view to acquisition.

Alok Saxena, managing director of Elder, said the sale to Torrent addressed the recent challenges facing the company and would help Elder deleverage its balance sheet. Elder will now focus and grow its in-licensing, anti-infectives and export businesses.

The deal is expected to strengthen Torrent’s position in the high margin over-the-counter (OTC) segment. Elder’s India business comprises a portfolio of 30 brands, including categories such as women’s healthcare, pain management, wound care and nutraceuticals.

Elder Pharma’s leading calcium supplement brand in India, Shelcal, has annual sales worth Rs 1bn ($25m) and accounts for 32% of its domestic revenue. Pain management brand Chyromal has a market share of 80%.

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