Dr Reddys leads race for Germanys Betapharm

New Delhi, Feb 2 | Updated: Feb 3 2006, 05:30am hrs
Dr Reddys Laboratories (DRL) has emerged the frontrunner in the race for the buyout of Germanys fourth largest generic drugmaker Betapharm Arzneimittel GmbH, according to industry sources.

DRLs aggressive bid around 470 million euro excelled others in the fray, including domestic rival Ranbaxy, France-based Sanofi-Aventis and Israels Teva, they said.

If the deal materialises, it would be the largest overseas acquisition by an Indian pharma company and help DRL dramatically expand its presence in Europe in a cost-effective manner.

The aggressive nature of DRLs bid is guaged from the fact that the UK-based 3i Group had bought Betapharm for just 300 million euro last year.

When contacted, a DRL spokesperson said the company had no comments to offer in this regard. Our policy is that we wont comment (on such matters), she said. A Ranbaxy spokesperson, too, refused to offer a specific comment on the news, but said the company had definite interest for an acquisition in Europe.

DARK HORSE

DRLs bid excelled others in the fray, including domestic rival Ranbaxy
The deal will be the largest overseas acquisition by an Indian pharma co

Besides DRL and Ranbaxy, two other Indian companies Wockhardt and Zydus Cadila had bid for Betapharm, but are no more in the reckoning. The bids closed on January 19.

Although DRLs is apparently the largest bid, the 3i Group or its investment banker is not bound to accept the offer, the sources said, adding that price would not be the sole determinant. Sandoz-Aventis, the worlds third largest pharma company, whose bid was routed through generic outfit Winthrop, hasnt quit yet.

If DRL were to buy the German company, it would be the companys second overseas acquisition in less than four months. In October 2005, the company had acquired Roches generics business in Mexico for $59 million.