US generics manufacturer Watson Pharmaceuticals announced on 24 January 2012 that it had acquired Ascent Pharmahealth, the Australia and Southeast Asia generics subsidiary of Strides Arcolab, in a deal worth Australian dollars (A$) 375 million.
The acquisition makes Watson the fifth largest generic pharmaceutical company in Australia in terms of revenue and the second largest in terms of total molecules. Watson also becomes the largest generics company in Singapore and gains an established commercial base in Hong Kong, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam.
The deal gives Watson access to Ascent's broad portfolio of generics, brands, branded-generics and over the counter drugs, as well as its dermatology and skin care products in Australia, where the company has a 14% market share. In 2011 Ascent had total sales of approximately A$150 million in Australia and Southeast Asia.
Watson President and CEO Mr Paul Bisaro said ‘this acquisition complements our existing generic[s] development and marketing capabilities in the important Australia market and catapults us to a top-five position that would have taken considerable time and investment to build organically.' Adding that ‘it also provides us with a leadership position in Southeast Asia, a region with more than 600 million consumers and overall annual generics sales of approximately A$4 billion a year, which is projected to grow at more than 8% annually.'
Executive Vice Chairman and CEO of India-based Strides Arcolab, Mr Arun Kumar, described the sale as being a ‘forward-looking initiative for Strides'. Adding that ‘we have been clear about our intention to focus on our highly attractive sterile segment, which we expect to be our growth engine going forward.'
According to Watson, the Australian pharmaceutical market is valued at A$12 billion, and the generics market is growing at approximately 8%. Watson currently operates within the Australian marketplace through its Spirit Pharmaceuticals and Willow Pharmaceuticals subsidiaries.
Watson is no stranger to deals and collaborations lately. The company signed a biosimilars deal with Amgen in December 2011 , while it purchased the Greek generics company Specifar Pharmaceuticals in May 2011 with the intention of expanding its European business .
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