JB Chemicals to up stake in South Africa’s Biotech Labs to over 95%

JB Chemicals & Pharmaceuticals Ltd said on Wednesday its board has approved a deal to buy a controlling stake in South African pharmaceutical firm Biotech Laboratories (Pty.) Ltd.

The Indian drugmaker will buy a 51 per cent stake that it doesn't already own in Biotech from Afrika Biopharma Investments (Pty) Ltd but will simultaneously issue shares to unnamed entities.

The Mumbai-based firm, through unit JB Healthcare Pvt Ltd, bought a 49 per cent stake in the firm in 2007. It also owns certain non-redeemable convertible preference shares.

After the proposed acquisition of existing shares, conversion of preference shares and certain fresh issuance of ordinary shares by Biotech, JB Chemicals would hold a little over 95 per cent stake, it said.

Biotech was founded in 1991. It sells and distributes herbal remedies, bulk drugs, intermediates and radio diagnostics in South Africa.

A number of Indian drugmakers have made overseas acquisitions this year, led by Lupin Ltd and Cipla Ltd.

In July, Lupin agreed to buy GAVIS Pharma for $880 million. In May, it acquired Brazil's Medquímica Indústria Farmacêutica SA and Russia's Biocom. In March, it purchased the 40 per cent stake it didn't already own in South African generic drugmaker Pharma Dynamics.

Cipla in September agreed to acquire US-based InvaGen Pharmaceuticals Inc and Exelan Pharmaceuticals Inc for around $550 million. And in May, it decided to purchase a 51 per cent stake in Uganda's Quality Chemicals Ltd for $30 million.

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