Apotex and Strides to merge their Australia businesses to become the country's largest generics player

Apotex pills
Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but according to a public filing by Strides, the two have agreed to a share swap in which the Indian company will hold majority control. (Apotex)

Apotex, the largest generics drugmaker in Canada, has agreed to merge its Australian business with that of India’s Strides Shasun. The combined operations are expected to create the largest generic drugmaker in that country.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but according to a public filing (PDF) by Strides, the two have agreed to a share swap in which the Indian company will hold majority control. Strides said it will be earning accretive from year one.

Strides, which has seven manufacturing sites, most of them in India, said the combined operation will have the largest portfolios of generic drugs in the country. It said the combo will provide more bargaining power with wholesalers. Strides, which operates under the Arrow brand in Australia, said each company will continue to operate under the Arrow and Apotex brand but benefit from cost synergies.

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Strides didn’t say how the deal fits in with its announcement last year to spin off or sell its commodity API manufacturing in India and concentrate on approved finished drugs. Last year, it announced it would be divided into two divisions, a “regulated markets” division focused on the U.S., U.K. and Australia, and one focused on emerging markets, primarily India and Africa.

RELATED: Strides to spin off API business in India, keep other plants for new B2C focus

The deal also comes amid turmoil for Apotex. In December, 75-year-old Apotex founder Barry Sherman and his 70-year-old wife, Honey, were found with belts around their necks that were attached to a railing near the indoor pool of their $7 million Toronto home. Police have called it a “targeted” murder.

RELATED: Accused of stealing Teva secrets, Apotex CEO exits abruptly even as founder's death ruled homicide

Then in January, Apotex CEO Jeremy Desai resigned. No reason was given, but six months earlier, he and the company were named by Teva in a lawsuit which claimed that for two years Desai received copies of Teva trade secrets from his girlfriend, Barinder Sandhu. Before her 2016 departure from Teva, Sandhu served as Teva’s chief of regulatory affairs for its American generics business.