SEOUL, June 24 South Korea's Celltrion Inc
said on Monday that Temasek, its key shareholder and
Singapore's sovereign wealth fund, has agreed to increase its
stake in the biotech firm with an investment of about $130
million, as it awaits European approval of a key drug.
The deal comes after founder and Chief Executive Seo
Jung-jin said in April that he would seek a buyer among
multinational drugmakers for his controlling interest in the
firm, once Remsima, a generic version of Merck & Co's
arthritis drug Remicade, is approved for sale in the European
Celltrion expects a European decision on the drug later this
Celltrion said on Monday that unlisted Celltrion GSC would
sell 150 billion won ($130 million) worth of shares in the firm
to Temasek, which already owns 10.5 percent of the firm through
its fully owned subsidiary Ion Investments.
"The additional investment reassures our vote of confidence
in Celltrion's business model and strategy," Celltrion quoted
Temasek's investment managing director Fidah Alsagoff as saying.
Celltrion declined to give details on the exact size of
Temasek's stake after the deal.
Temasek bought 1 million shares of Celltrion in after-hours
trade on Monday and plans to purchase more shares later this
week, the statement said.
Celltrion GSC plans to use the proceeds to repay debt.
Shares of Celltrion, the largest stock on South Korea's
junior bourse with a market value of $5 billion as recently as
March, closed up 3.9 percent on Monday.
($1 = 1152.2500 Korean won)
(Reporting by Miyoung Kim; Editing by Chris Gallagher)