Hikma increases share of Tunisian market

Generics group takes 66% stake in Ibn Al Baytar and increases sales representatives in the region

Hikma Pharmaceuticals, the Jordan-based generics group, has agreed to increase its interest in Industries Pharmaceutiques Ibn Al Baytar, a Tunisian pharmaceutical manufacturing and marketing company, to 66% through the purchase of shares from existing shareholders. Hikma will pay US$5m for the additional interest, which will be satisfied from existing cash resources.

Ibn Al Baytar and its subsidiary Medicef together operate two manufacturing plants in Tunisia – one for general formulation and one for anti-infectives. In 2009, the combined companies had revenues of $16.6m.

Through this transaction, Hikma will increase its share of the Tunisian market to approximately 3% and becomes the 9th largest pharmaceutical company in the country. It will add a number of products covering the cardiovascular and respiratory therapeutic categories.

The firm will also expand its sales and marketing presence in Tunisia, increasing its sales representatives from 39 to 62.

‘Through our existing investment, made in 1994, Hikma has known Ibn Al Baytar and its management team well for many years. The opportunity to increase our stake and take control is highly attractive to us given the excellent growth prospects for the Tunisian market, said Said Darwazah, chief executive of Hikma.

‘This acquisition will enable us to accelerate our penetration of the Tunisian market and provides a great platform for exporting to neighbouring and French-speaking African countries.’

He added that the firm would continue to pursue a number of other acquisition opportunities using its market knowledge and industry contacts.

In 2009, Hikma reported a profit of $78m on sales of $637m.

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