Drugmaker Perrigo expects $100 million boost from new Israeli plant

YERUHAM, Israel (Reuters) - Generic drugmaker Perrigo Co PRGO.N said it expected a $100 million boost to annual sales from a new factory inaugurated in Israel on Wednesday.

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The Irish-based pharmaceutical firm invested about $46 million to expand its facility in the remote desert town of Yeruham, which specialises in products more difficult to produce than oral medications, such as foams, creams and nasal sprays.

“As a company this (investment) is a big prescription drug growth platform for us, primarily for the U.S. market, but not solely,” Perrigo’s president, John Hendrickson, told Reuters in an interview.

“It allows us to stay on the cutting edge of being a leader of complex products.”

Perrigo began operating in Israel and listed on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange when it bought pharmaceutical firm Agis Industries for $850 million in 2005.

Perrigo fought off a $25 billion hostile takeover bid from rival Mylan NV MYL.O last year, and Hendrickson said the company was not looking for any other buyers.

“We aren’t seeking anything like that. We feel we’ve got great stand-alone prospects,” he said.

With the Mylan saga behind it, he said the company was looking to buy back stock - up to $1.5 billion worth over the two to three years - and planned to continue with its own acquisitions.

In the past several years, half of Perrigo’s growth has come from mergers and acquisitions and the other half from expanding its existing business. “We don’t see that kind of a mix changing going forward,” Hendrickson said.

Perrigo’s adjusted profit missed market estimates for the first time in more than a year in the fourth quarter, due to weaker than expected sales in its branded consumer healthcare business.

Perrigo had revenue of $1.42 billion in the fourth quarter, just shy of the average estimate of $1.46 billion.

The shortfall was somewhat of a surprise, according to Hendrickson, who said the company remained in a strong position, due in part to its heavy investment in research and development.

“We’ve got a pretty fruitful pipeline. When you look out I think over the next 2-1/2 years, 3 years we have about $1.2 billion of new products in our pipeline,” he said.

Editing by Mark Potter