Baxter plans to split into two companies, spin off biotech

March 27 Thu Mar 27, 2014 7:52am EDT

March 27 (Reuters) - Healthcare company Baxter International Inc said on Thursday it would separate into two companies, one that focuses on biotechnology and the other devoted to medical equipment.

The company said its biotech business had 2013 revenue of $6 billion while medical products and equipment sales were $9 billion.

Ludwig Hantson, president of its BioScience group, will head the new biopharmaceuticals company.

Baxter shares traded at $78.39, up 10.6 percent in premarket trading. (Reporting by Caroline Humer; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)