LONDON Takeda Pharmaceutical (4502.T), Japan's top drugmaker, is to buy Brazil's Multilab for up to 540 million Brazilian reals ($265 million) in a deal highlighting global drugmakers' appetite for emerging market sales.
Frank Morich, responsible for all Takeda sales outside Japan, told Reuters he wanted to see emerging markets accounting for 20-25 percent of group sales in the years ahead, roughly double what it is expecting for the current fiscal year.
Demand for medicines is growing far faster in emerging markets than in mature ones like Japan, Europe and the United States, making them attractive to companies seeking new areas of growth to offset patent expiries and price cuts at home.
Takeda, which already put a big bet on emerging markets when it bought Nycomed for $13.7 billion last year, will pay 500 million reals upfront to the owners of Multilab and up to 40 million in additional future milestone payments.
The acquisition of the manufacturer of branded generics and over-the-counter (OTC) medicines will make Takeda one of the top 10 pharmaceutical companies in Brazil, a country that is already its second largest emerging market after Russia.
"The key message we are sending with this deal is that we are really serious about globalization," Morich said. "We will continue to go after such opportunities as they arise."
Takeda currently generates nearly half of its sales outside Japan. Among non-Japanese markets, the United States has been an important mainstay, but business there will suffer as top-selling diabetes pill Actos faces fierce generic competition.
As a result, newer markets in the developing world are set to become more and important.
"For the fiscal year going forward, we're expecting a sales contribution of anywhere between 10 and 15 percent from emerging markets," Morich said.
"We have the ambition to get to 20 to 25 percent for emerging markets - that's definitely the target ... you will see we are zooming in on the 20 percent number by 2015."
Takeda's strategy of acquiring local companies with a strong presence mirrors that of rivals including Pfizer (PFE.N), Sanofi (SASY.PA), GlaxoSmithKline (GSK.L) and Amgen (AMGN.O), all of which have done similar deals in the recent past.
The international appetite for mid-sized drug companies in Latin America and Asia has driven up valuations, although at a multiple of under four times sales Morich insisted Takeda was not over-paying for Multilab.
Multilab's products include Brazil's best-selling OTC cold and flu treatment, Multigrip. The company had 2011 sales of 140 million reals and has been growing by more than 20 percent a year over 2009-11 as it taps into rising demand from the country's expanding middle classes.
The deal is expected to close in the second quarter of Takeda's fiscal year 2012 ending next March, the two companies said in a statement on Friday. Takeda added it did not expect to revise earnings guidance for the year as a result of the acquisition.
Takeda was advised by J.P. Morgan while Multilab's adviser was BTG Pactual.
(Reporting by Ben Hirschler; Editing by Will Waterman)