Debt-laden Takeda to sell OTC drugs in Middle East and Africa for $200m


Takeda is to sell off a portfolio of over-the-counter and prescription drugs in the Near East, Middle East, and Africa for $200 million to Acino, as the Japanese company aims to pay off billions of dollars in debt following its merger with Shire earlier this year.

When it took over Shire in a deal worth $59 billion earlier this year, Takeda had to borrow around $30 billion from banks to finance the acquisition.

Since then, paying off the debt has been a priority, and the company has been looking to divest unwanted parts of its business to repay the banks.

In the latest deal Takeda will sell the portfolio of drugs to Switzerland’s Acino, saying that the portfolio is outside its core business areas of gastroenterology, rare diseases, plasma-derived therapies, and oncology and neuroscience.

It is the third such deal this year -  it has already sold former Shire dry eye drug Xiidra to Novartis for up to $5.3 billion, and sold its fibrin sealant patch Tachosil to Ethicon for around $400 million.

Takeda said it intends to use the proceeds to reduce debt, towards a target of 2x net debt/adjusted EBITDA over the next three to five years.

The deal involves around 30 prescription pharmaceutical and OTC products, and the agreement covers countries including Egypt, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey, Ukraine, and the United Arab Emirates.

Sales and marketing staff will move over to Acino when the transaction closes, and Takeda will continue to manufacture the products on behalf of Acion under a manufacturing and supply agreement.

The transaction is expected to close in the first quarter of 2020, if it is cleared by competition regulators.

Steffen Saltofte, CEO of Acino, said: “This agreement strengthens our presence in our core emerging markets where we have established ourselves as a leading high-quality pharmaceutical provider.”