UPDATE 1-Citi eyes sale of Egyptian drugmaker Amoun-sources

Wed Oct 20, 2010 3:02pm EDT

* Citi, Capital Group, Concord poised to hire Goldman

* Trio bought generic drugmaker in 2006 for about $450 mln (Adds context on Biofarma, likely bidders, market forecast, byline)

By Quentin Webb

LONDON, Oct 20 (Reuters) - Citigroup Inc's (C.N) venture capital arm and two other investors are planning to sell Amoun, one of Egypt's biggest drugmakers, three people familiar with the matter said on Wednesday.

The owners -- Citi Venture Capital International (CVCI), together with the emerging-markets focused private equity arm of the Capital Group Cos Inc, and Concord International Investments -- are close to hiring Goldman Sachs (GS.N) to run the sale, the people said.

The trio bought Amoun, which makes off-patent branded drugs, for about $450 million in 2006. One of the people said it could now be worth roughly $1 billion.

An Amoun spokeswoman did not immediately respond to an emailed request for comment outside Egyptian business hours. Citigroup and Concord had no immediate comment. A spokeswoman for Capital Group said it did not comment on its investments. Goldman declined to comment.

News of a potential sale comes days after people familiar with the matter said another CVCI-led consortium was seeking to sell a second generic drugmaker, Turkey's Biofarma. That could also be worth nearly $1 billion. [ID:nLDE69B0PP]

Major pharmaceutical companies, seeking to avert a steep drop-off in revenues as blockbuster drugs lose patents, are keen to expand in both copycat drugs and in faster-growing markets.

Major players such as Abbott Laboratories (ABT.N) and Pfizer Inc (PFE.N) of the United States, France's Sanofi-Aventis SA (SASY.PA), and Sandoz, the generics unit of Novartis (NOVN.VX), could consider bids for Amoun.

A report in May by Business Monitor International forecast pharmaceutical spending in Egypt would grow 11.4 percent a year between 2009 and 2014, to hit $4.2 billion, and would rise at 9.2 percent annually for the rest of the decade. (Reporting by Quentin Webb; Editing by Elaine Hardcastle and Richard Chang)

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