BASF lands Pronova making it a top omega-3 maker

Pronova's fish oil pill--Courtesy of Pronova BioPharma

German chemical giant BASF finally netted nearly all of the shares of Norway's omega-3 fish oil maker Pronova BioPharma and now will be one of the leading API makers in that category.

After extending and upping its offer somewhat, BASF ($BASF) persuaded nearly 98% percent of the Pronova shareholders to turn over their ownership as part of a deal that valued the company at €684 million ($920.3 million). It expects to "squeeze" the holdouts within two weeks and close the deal shortly after that.

"We aim to combine Pronova's strong expertise and good position in the market for omega-3 fatty acids with BASF's worldwide market presence and technical know-how," said Michael Heinz, a BASF board member.

BASF will combine Pronova omega-3 manufacturing capacity with that from a plant in Scotland it acquired in May from  Equataq. BASF has already plunged €22m ($29.2 million) into the Equataq plant to expand its capacity to 250 metric tons from 20 metric tons. But the real fish oil prize for BASF is Pronova, of Lysaker, Norway, which already makes the active ingredient for GlaxoSmithKline's ($GSK) blockbuster omega-3 drug, Lovaza.

BASF has said it likes the prospects of "the fast-growing and highly profitable market for omega-3 fatty acids." It has already gotten a potentially big contract from Amarin ($AMRN), whose ultra pure omega-3 fatty acid heart pill Vascepa was approved last year by the FDA. Amarin has asked the FDA to approve BASF as one of its API manufacturers. Amarin has yet to launch Vascepa but said it is building a manufacturing network to meet expected demand.

- here's the release