Reuters: Lonza attempting buyout of Catalent

Lonza's Visp, Switzerland location
Lonza's Visp, Switzerland location(Lonaza)

There has been considerable consolidation in contract manufacturing, mostly with the biggest players buying up smaller ones to expand their geographic reach or capabilities. But Reuters reports that two of the big boys of the business are talking, with Swiss CDMO Lonza interested in buying U.S.-based Catalent ($CTLT).

Citing unnamed sources, Reuters said that so far the two companies have been unable to reach a price and there is no certainty that they will, but reports of a possible deal sent Catalent shares up 12% on Wednesday. One source told the news service that Lonza might look at other targets if it can’t negotiate a price it likes with Catalent.

A  spokesman for New Jersey-based Catalent said today that the company does not comment on rumors, as did a spokesman for Lonza.

A buyout of Catalent would be a big deal for Lonza which spent several years consolidating after it bought U.S.-based Arch Chemical in 2011 for about $1.4 billion. After the Arch deal, It targeted its Visp plant in Switzerland for $100 million in cost savings then closed a number of facilities, including one in Hopkinton, MA, that had run into regulatory problems with the FDA. It laid off about 250 employees there.

Catalent, which has been expanding in recent years and with 31 facilities around the world and $1.8 billion in 2015 revenue, would be quite a catch for Lonza. Catalent did run into some difficulties in Europe in the last year where French regulators had it close a facility in Beinheim, France, for four months after Catalent suspected someone in the soft-gel capsule plant had sabotaged products. French authorities launched a criminal probe after a series of incidents within the facility involving out-of-place capsules, which peaked in July. The Somerset, NJ-based company since its suspension of the soft-gel capsule plant shaved $21 million off its top line in the last quarter and led it to lower its forecast for the year.

- read the Reuters story