PARIS, April 29 French drugmaker Sanofi
is not looking at selling its animal health business
but could look at making it bigger instead, Chief Executive
Chris Viehbacher told analysts on a call on Tuesday.
Asked if he would consider selling or swapping Sanofi's
animal health business, Viehbacher said: "Our approach to animal
health has been that it is part of our diversification strategy"
and noted that the unit was "a pretty big business" with a
number of new products to come in.
"Obviously this is something that has to contribute to
Sanofi's growth over time and we expect it to do so. So there's
no thought process about doing anything today. If we could
acquire something to make it bigger, we would do so, but again,
there are quite a number of constraints on this from an
antitrust point of view."
The pharmaceutical industry is abuzz with deals and asset
swaps, seeing drugmakers worldwide shake up their portfolios to
weed out or beef up businesses that haven't reached critical
mass. Eli Lilly said last week it was buying Novartis'
animal health business, putting the new merged entity
ahead of Sanofi's Merial in terms of global
Sanofi earlier posted lower-than-expected first-quarter
earnings, partly weighed down by declining sales of animal
(Reporting by Natalie Huet; editing by Geert De Clercq)