* Wendel, Nordic Capital hand in final bids - sources
* Bids value LTS Lohmann at about 1.2 bln euros - sources
* Hisamitsu, EQT, Blackstone, KKR drop out - sources
FRANKFURT, Nov 25 The bidding for German medical
skin patch maker LTS Lohmann has turned into a two-way race
between buyout firms Wendel and Nordic Capital, valuing the
company at about 1.2 billion euros ($1.6 billion), three people
familiar with the matter said.
Nordic Capital may be looking to combine LTS Lohmann with
another skin patch maker it agreed to buy last month, Acino
. Nordic had teamed up with Avista Capital Partners to
acquire the Swiss firm, which makes a contraceptive patch for
The sources said that Japan's Hisamitsu Pharmaceutical
and private equity house EQT were no longer being
considered as suitors by LTS Lohmann's owners, which include
drug major Novartis.
Interest from Blackstone, which had been looking to
combine LTS Lohmann with its drug contract manufacturing
subsidiary Catalent, has cooled, the sources added. KKR,
which had been seeking to complement its hard capsules maker
Capsugel, has also lost interest, they said.
Wendel of France, Nordic Capital of Sweden, EQT, KKR,
Hisamitsu and Blackstone all declined to comment.
Officials at LTS Lohmann and Novartis were not immediately
available for comment.
LTS Lohmann makes about 286 million euros in annual sales
from nicotine and other medical patches to treat conditions
including Parkinson's and Restless Legs Syndrome.
Patches of the type made by the firm have become
increasingly important in the drugs industry since they offer a
convenient and reliable way of delivering a variety of
The bids value the group - which developed the first
nicotine patch for the U.S. market, launched in 1991 - at about
12.6 times earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and
amortisation (EBITDA) of about 95 million euros.
Listed healthcare companies in Europe trade at a multiple of
about 11, data from Thomson Reuters StarMine show.
Novartis holds a 43 percent stake in LTS Lohmann, while
German billionaire Dietmar Hopp, who co-founded software giant
SAP, holds about 30 percent. German investment company
BWK owns a 24 percent stake.
Spokesmen for Hopp's investment vehicle and for BWK declined
A key question for the future owner will be whether LTS
Lohmann can succeed in preventing generic drugmakers from
launching cheap copies of its Exelon patch for mild to moderate
dementia. Novartis has sued Actavis for trying to bring
its version to market.