Hikma in talks to buy GlaxoSmithKline’s Egypt subsidiary

Transaction will result in the creation of the biggest drugmaker in the Arab region’s second-largest economy

A Photo shows a part of developing and manufacturing pharmaceutical products at the labs of Hikma in Amman, Jordan. Hikma Pharmaceuticals is a fast growing multinational pharmaceutical group which was founded in 1978 in Jordan.  (Salah Malkawi for The National) *** Local Caption ***  SM_Hikma_078.jpg

Hikma Pharmaceuticals said it plans to buy GlaxoSmithKline’s stake in some Middle East assets, including its pharmaceutical, consumer commercialisation and manufacturing businesses in Egypt and its drugs business in Tunisia. The acquisition is expected to create the largest pharmaceuticals company in Egypt.

The drugmaker, which was founded in Jordan and is listed on the London Stock Exchange, signed a non-binding agreement with Glaxo Group for the potential purchase of its 91.2 per cent stake in its GSK Egypt subisidiary, according to a statement on Tuesday. The transaction will be carried out by submitting a mandatory tender offer for 100 per cent of GSK company's shares.

The deal will also be subject to the completion of due diligence and regulatory approvals. The timeline and the potential value for the acquisition are yet to be disclosed.

The potential acquisition comes amid the worsening Covid-19 pandemic that has put unprecedented pressure on regional and global healthcare systems. The pandemic has led to the rapid acceleration of efforts to find solutions in the areas of diagnostics and pharmaceuticals.

The biggest market for Hikma, which produces and markets a wide range of branded and non-branded generic medicines, is the US, followed by Saudi Arabia and Egypt. Revenue for the first six months of 2020 increased by 8 per cent to $1.1bn and net profit rose 16 per cent to $212 million.

With annual revenues of about 4 billion Egyptian pounds ($254.4m), GSK Egypt has a 5 per cent share of the local pharma production market, according to a research note from investment house Naeem Brokerage. It added that the company sells more than 160 million units per annum in Egypt.

“Hikma Egypt is roughly half the size of GSK with a market share of 2.6 per cent on a year-to-date basis in 2020,” the note said.

The transaction, if successful, will create the biggest pharma producer in Egypt with a combined market share of close to 7.5 per cent in terms of sales value. This will make it larger than Novartis (with a market share of 6.7 per cent) and Sanofi (5.3 per cent).

Naeem Holdings' analysts estimated that GSK’s Egyptian operations, excluding its Tunisia business, could be valued at between $600m to $650m.