French API maker Seqens primed for sale to the tune of $2.4B: report

Seqens could be valued at more than $2.4 billion—more than 15 times its core earnings, one source told Reuters. (SimonLukas/Getty Images)

French manufacturer and drug ingredients company Seqens may soon fly under a new banner.

The company’s private equity owners are priming Seqens for sale, with majority shareholder Eurazeo enlisting JPMorgan to track down a potential buyer, two sources close to the plan told Reuters. The company, which makes and distributes aspirin, paracetamol and other active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs), could be valued at more than €2 billion ($2.4 billion)—more than 15 times its core earnings, one source said.   

Potential buyers include big CDMO players like Recipharm, Lonza, Cambrex and Samsung Biologics, and the sale could gin up interest from private equity funds, too, according to one of Reuters’ sources.

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It wouldn’t be wholly uncharted territory for Seqens, either. In 2016, Paris-based investment company Eurazeo grabbed a 67% stake in Seqens—then valued at €654 million ($792 million), debt included—from private equity fund Ardian, which itself kept hold of an 18% stake. This was back when Seqens was still known as Novacap; the company first emerged in 2003 and was originally owned by Bain Capital before adopting the Seqens moniker in 2018.

The company, which boasts specialty ingredients and R&D offerings alongside its API business, also makes cosmetics, food and microelectronics. One source predicted Seqens would post sales of roughly €1 billion ($1.2 billion) this year, with earnings in the €150 million ($181 million) ballpark.

Seqens didn’t immediately reply to Fierce Pharma’s request for comment.

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The company, meanwhile, has made its own string of recent acquisitions, picking up Germany-based Uetikon, China’s Yangzi Pharmaceutical Chemical and U.S.-based PCI Synthesis, among others, Reuters said.

In fact, the buyout of API and fine chemical manufacturer Uetikon was the catalyst that first launched Seqens into the CDMO realm, Edward Price, then-president of PCI Synthesis—now under the Seqens umbrella—previously said. What really set things in motion, however, was Seqens' takeover of PCAS, a French-based pharma and specialty chemicals player, and its biocatalysis subsidiary, Protéus, he added.  

In an interview with Price in 2019, the former managing director of Seqens’ CDMO unit, Frédéric Desdouits, said the goal had been to set up a CDMO footprint on a global scale. There were no specific plans for further buyouts at the time, but the option wasn’t off the table, either, Desdouits said.