Spain's Esteve sells a plant then buys one as it refocuses on specialty drugs

Spain's Esteve is picking up a German manufacturing site with a deal to buy Berlin-based Riemser from private equity firm Ardian. In the last seven years, Riemser has sold off its veterinary, dental and medical device businesses to focus on selling specialty drugs to hospitals. (Riemser)

It has been a busy few weeks for drugmaker Esteve. No sooner did it unload a generics plant in Spain then it snapped up a specialty drug maker with a manufacturing facility in Germany. 

Esteve, which is turning its focus to branded and specialty drugs, now has a deal to buy Berlin-based Riemser from private investment group Ardian. Terms are being kept under wraps, but the acquisition is slated to close in the first quarter. 

In the deal, Esteve gets a German manufacturing site and a portfolio of specialty drugs targeted at hospitals. Riemser primarily makes and sells oncology and neurology drugs as well as what it calls “niche therapies.”

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“Riemser contributes both knowledge and experience in the European hospital market, in addition to pharmaceutical activity in four of the major European markets—Germany, United Kingdom, France and Spain,” Esteve CEO Staffan Schüberg said in a statement. 

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More than 80% of Riemser’s sales come from the hospital channel, Schüberg pointed out. 

Ardian bought Riemser in 2012, sold off its veterinary, dental and device businesses and refocused it with deals for specialty drugs in 2014, 2015 and 2016. In 2019, it acquired a drug distribution business in Spain. 

This acquisition by Esteve comes only weeks after the Spanish drugmaker agreed to sell its Pensa generics unit, including a manufacturing facility in Barcelona, to Japan’s Towa for €320 million. That deal is slated to wrap up by the end of January.

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