Samsung C&T mulling raising up to $2.8 bln to buy stake in biopharma affiliate: MBC

FILE PHOTO - Employees walk past a logo of Samsung C&T Corp at the company's headquarters in Seoul, South Korea, July 16, 2015. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji

SEOUL (Reuters) - Samsung C&T Corp, de facto holding company of Samsung Group, is considering raising up to 3 trillion won ($2.8 billion) to buy a 30 percent stake in sub-subsidiary Samsung Bioepis Co Ltd, a South Korean TV channel reported on Monday.

Samsung C&T has been contacting large financial institutions to raise the money, MBC reported on Monday, citing an unnamed person with knowledge of Samsung’s process.

Samsung Bioepis is 94.6 percent owned by Samsung BioLogics Co Ltd and 5.4 percent owned by a unit of Biogen Inc as of end-2017, according to a Bioepis filing.

However, Biogen has the option to increase its stake in Bioepis to 49.9 percent, according to Biogen presentation material seen by Reuters.

Samsung BioLogics has seen its shares rise to an all-time high after Samsung Bioepis, which develops biosimilars - or low-cost copies of blockbuster biotech drugs - signed a deal with AbbVie Inc last week that allows Bioepis to sell its copy of AbbVie’s blockbuster drug Humira from October 2018 onwards.

Established in 2012, Samsung Bioepis now has five biosimilar drugs approved in Europe, and one approved in the United States so far, according to its website.

Samsung C&T, which owns a 43 percent stake in Samsung BioLogics, did not have an immediate comment. A spokesman for Samsung BioLogics could not be reached. Samsung Bioepis said it was not in a position to comment.

Reporting by Joyce Lee and Ju-min Park; Editing by Kevin Liffey