India M&A sees offshore interest in Gland Pharma

AstraZeneca

Unlisted Hyderabad-based injectables maker Gland Pharma has drawn interest from outside India, including from Baxter International and Advent International of the U.S. for a company backed by leveraged buyout firm KKR & Co.

Reuters reports that the firm's founders and KKR own about 96%, valued as high as $1.5 billion, and aim to sell the entire holding.

Indian firms such as Lupin Pharmaceuticals and Sun Pharmaceutical Industries have made moves to expand operations in the U.S., emerging markets and Japan, but inbound investment has been rarer from firms outside the country, though Singapore sovereign wealth fund Temasek has bought into makers such as Mumbai-based Glenmark Pharmaceuticals.

That would make the sale price and extent of interest a marker for valuations of India firms selling products abroad, particularly after years of tussles with overseas regulators on manufacturing quality standards.

Also in the fray, Reuters reports, is Ahmedabad-based Torrent Pharmaceuticals which hails from the manufacturing hub of Gujarat.

Reuters said KKR's 2013 original investment was about $200 million, the largest ever private equity amount in the India drug industry at the time and that valued the company around $600 million.

Injectables in India have drawn attention in the past few years as firms like Jordan-based Hikma faced manufacturing quality issues with U.S-based operations in the space and Mylan ($MYL) snapped up Indian injectables maker Strides Arcolab for $1.75 billion, which closed in 2014 and is now called Strides Shausun.

In the U.S., Pfizer's ($PFE) purchase of Hospira last year was said to be driven in part for the injectables unit.

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