(Refiled to remove extraneous text character in headline)
* CEO says "We prefer to eat and not to be eaten"
* CEO says major acquisitions a top subject for company
* CEO says company could double in size in two years
* Q1 EBITDA 1.010 bln SEK vs forecast 1.018 bln in Reuters
By Sven Nordenstam
STOCKHOLM, May 7 Swedish drugmaker Meda
, a recent takeover target of U.S. rival Mylan Inc
, said on Wednesday acquisitions could double its size in
two years and that it considered itself a predator and not prey
in a consolidating pharma industry.
Meda, which last month spurned two takeover approaches from
the U.S. generic drugs firm, said major acquisitions were again
"a top subject" for the company.
"Either you eat or you will be eaten," Meda Chief Executive
Jorg-Thomas Dierks told a conference call. "And I think that it
is quite logical that we prefer to eat and not to be eaten."
Meda was built through the acquisitions of other companies
and product portfolios, and doubling sales in two years would be
a repeat of Meda's performance in the years 2006 to 2008.
Last year Meda had sales of 13 billion Swedish crowns ($2
billion), an almost 17-fold increase from a decade ago.
Dierks said acquisitions were necessary to complement
organic growth and still key to Meda's strategy after a pause of
a couple of years.
"I see absolutely no reason why we should not double our
size within the timeframe of two years," he said, adding that
acquisitions would either complement Meda's existing product
portfolio, or be of a "transformational, strategic" kind.
"What we see in the industry is that it is an industry of
consolidation, and as I said before it is very simple. You will
belong to the winners or you will belong to the losers, and
there is nothing in between."
Meda has been seen as takeover candidate for years in an
industry which is trying to cut costs and add specialised
expertise as it faces pressures on prices from healthcare
service providers in developed countries seeking to restrict
A flurry of multi-billion dollar deals and bids in recent
months is set to make this year the busiest ever for M&A in the
healthcare sector with Pfizer's $106 billion offer for
AstraZeneca on May 2 the biggest proposed deal so far.
Meda's earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and
amortisation (EBITDA) rose to 1,010 million crowns in the first
quarter from 923 million in the same period last year. The
result was in line with the mean forecast of 1,018 million
crowns in a Reuters poll of analysts..
On a like-for-like basis, sales rose by 3 percent, but in
Russia and Ukraine sales fell because of the political and
economic uncertainty there, Meda said.
Meda's shares fell 2.5 percent by 1114 GMT while the broader
Stockholm market index was down 0.4 percent.
Meda repeated it expected organic sales growth, which
excludes exchange rate movements and acquisitions, to this year
be in line with the 4 percent advance seen in 2013 while its
operating margin (EBITDA) is expected to improve on last year's
Link to full report: r.reuters.com/xyd29v
($1=6.5021 Swedish crowns)
(Additional reporting by Rebecka Roos; Editing by Greg Mahlich)