ADQ, one of the region’s largest holding companies, entered into a definitive agreement to buy Switzerland-based pharmaceutical company Acino, marking its biggest deal within the healthcare and pharmaceuticals sector to date.
The Abu Dhabi company will acquire 100 per cent of Acino from its current shareholders, which include Nordic Capital and Avista Capital Partners, it said.
The company did not disclose the total value of the deal.
“Building on a series of strategic acquisitions throughout this year, we are creating a strong platform to fortify the UAE’s position as a regional hub for pharmaceutical manufacturing, commercialisation and distribution in select growth-leading markets,” Fahad Al Qassim, executive director, healthcare and pharma at ADQ, said.
"With the company’s industry experience and broad reach, Acino will enable ADQ to deliver an even greater level of growth, innovation and ambition across the pharma value chain.”
Zurich-based Acino has a presence in more than 90 countries. The company manufactures pharmaceutical products covering 20 therapeutic areas including gastroenterology, cardiovascular and pain relief.
“Acino’s strong management, commercialisation capabilities, diverse product portfolio and licenses across many emerging markets will be essential to ADQ’s long-term strategy of developing its integrated pharma platform and meeting the need for high-quality, affordable medicines in the UAE and the broader region,” ADQ said.
The deal is subject to regulatory approvals.
Set up in 2018, ADQ has a portfolio of companies in important sectors of Abu Dhabi’s non-oil economy such as tourism and hospitality, aviation, transport, logistics, industrial, property, media, health care, agri-foods and financial services.
Its portfolio includes the Abu Dhabi Power Corporation, Abu Dhabi Airports, Abu Dhabi Ports, Etihad Rail, healthcare provider Seha, insurer Daman, Abu Dhabi National Exhibitions Company and media companies Abu Dhabi Media and twofour54.
The company has also increasingly focused on the pharma sector as it expanded its reach within the industry with a string of acquisitions in recent months.
Earlier this year, ADQ acquired Amoun Pharmaceutical Company, an Egypt-based manufacturer, distributor and exporter of branded pharmaceutical and animal health products for $470 million, and Pharmax Pharmaceuticals, a UAE-based pharmaceutical company that manufactures and markets affordable, branded generic medications.
ADQ also purchased a minority stake in India-based Biocon Biologics, which specialises in developing, manufacturing and marketing high-quality, affordable biosimilars across global markets.
In March, ADQ signed an agreement to merge its healthcare entities Rafed and Union71 with Dubai-based Pure Health to create a major healthcare support services provider. As part of the agreement, the Abu Dhabi conglomerate transferred its ownership of Rafed and Union71 to Pure Health for a stake in the merged entity.
Investments into the healthcare sector have been growing amid the pandemic, which provided a shot in the arm for pharmaceutical, long-term care centres and diagnostic services.
Other companies in the region are also investing heavily in the healthcare sector.
Dubai-listed investment company Amanat Holdings acquired Cambridge Medical and Rehabilitation Centre for $232m in one of the region's biggest healthcare deals in March this year.
Pharmaceutical companies, particularly those manufacturing vaccines, have performed well overall. Pfizer reported a 59 per cent annual jump in second-quarter net profit as the vaccine it developed alongside German pharmaceutical company BioNTech against Covid-19 added $7.8bn in the company’s sales.
Vaccine maker Moderna also swung to profit in the second quarter from a loss in the same period a year ago as its Covid-19 shot proved effective. The company said it signed orders worth $20bn for Covid-19 vaccines for 2021 and has also agreed $12bn in vaccine sales for next year with options for $8bn more.