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UPDATE 1-Zuellig to take 40 pct of NZ's Ebos in pharmaceutical buyout
May 29, 2013 / 12:06 AM / 4 years ago

UPDATE 1-Zuellig to take 40 pct of NZ's Ebos in pharmaceutical buyout

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WELLINGTON, May 29 (Reuters) - Hong Kong-based Zuellig Group will take a 40 percent stake in New Zealand pharmaceutical and veterinary goods company Ebos Group Ltd, which is buying its Australian pharmaceutical wholesaler Symbion, the companies said on Wednesday.

Ebos said it would buy Symbion from the privately held Zuellig Healthcare Group for NZ$865 million and take on NZ$230 million of Symbion debt, valuing the total deal at nearly NZ$1.1 billion ($887 million) on an enterprise basis.

“We are bringing together two businesses that are very well matched geographically and operationally and are leaders in key segments in their respective markets,” Ebos managing director Mark Waller said in a statement.

The cash component was being financed by a share placement with institutional investors, a 7-for-20 offer to existing shareholders, and an extension of Ebos’s debt, worth about NZ$367 million.

The remaining NZ$498 million of the deal would be funded by an issue of new Ebos shares to Zuellig, giving it a 40 percent stake.

Shares in Ebos, which were placed on a trading halt, closed on Tuesday at NZ$9.90.

It also said it would use up tax credits with a bonus issue of shares to existing shareholders, and planned to list on the Australian exchange (ASX) by the end of the year.

Both Ebos and Symbion, bought by Zuellig in 2008, have extensive pharmaceutical and medical products wholesale and distribution operations in their respective countries, as well as veterinary and animal supplies businesses.

Ebos had earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, and amortisation (EBITDA) of NZ$46.9 million from sales of NZ$1.4 billion in the year to June 2012, while Symbion’s EBITDA was A$108.5 million from revenues were A$3.9 billion ($3.75 billion).

New Zealand investment bank Northington Partners advised on the deal, putting the Symbion price at 15 percent below its valuation range midpoint.

Brokerage Forsyth Barr and investment bank UBS NZ are fully underwriting and managing the Ebos equity raising.

The Zuellig Group has healthcare and agricultural equipment businesses throughout the Asia Pacific region, including a small stake in New Zealand pharmacy retailer Pharmacybrands Ltd .

($1=NZ$1.24 A$1.0405)

Reporting by Gyles Beckford; Editing by Stephen Coates

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