US-based Abbott announced on Tuesday that it had signed a definitive agreement to acquire the nutrition businesses of Wockhardt Ltd, Carol Info Services Limited, and certain Wockhardt subsidiaries and group companies for a total consideration of $130 million in cash.

The Mumbai-based troubled pharma company has a significant presence in India's pediatric and adult nutrition segments with infant formulas, weaning foods and adult protein supplements. The acquired brands include market leading Farex, Dexolac and Nusobee infant formulas and Farex weaning cereal, which hold the number two position in India's pediatric nutrition category. The adult protein supplement, Protinex, is the segment leader. The transactions also include nutrition manufacturing facilities located in Lalru and Jagraon, India.

The transactions are not being conducted by Abbott's publicly traded subsidiary, Abbott India, Ltd, but by the US based parent Abbott. These transactions are subject to customary closing conditions and various approvals. Abbott expects the transactions to close in the second half of 2009.

"This acquisition is an excellent strategic fit for Abbott to accelerate growth of its nutrition business in India, where the nutritional market is expected to experience strong growth in the coming years," said Holger Liepmann, executive vice president, Global Nutrition, Abbott.

"Combining these trusted nutrition products, local manufacturing capability and commercial infrastructure with Abbott's existing pediatric and adult nutrition offerings positions Abbott very well to serve Indian consumers."

Abbott's international nutrition business is an important growth driver for the company and has had particularly strong growth in China, Southeast Asia and Latin America in recent years.

The acquisition includes approximately 600 employees in total. Abbott has approximately 1,500 employees in India across all of its businesses and has been operating in India since 1910. Abbott offers Isomil, PediaSure, Ensure and Glucerna in India and plans to introduce additional products from its broad-based nutritional portfolio to Indian consumers in the coming years.

The NYSE listed Abbott is a global, broad-based health care company devoted to the discovery, development, manufacture and marketing of pharmaceuticals and medical products, including nutritionals, devices and diagnostics. The company employs more than 72,000 people and markets its products in more than 130 countries.

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