India's Sun scouts U.S. for 'bigger' acquisition

A leading Indian generics maker is looking to boost its U.S. presence significantly. Sun Pharmaceutical is scouting for a U.S. acquisition, Chairman Dilip Shanghvi told Bloomberg. And he's looking for a big one--the company's largest deal to date, in fact. After all, his company is aiming for the world's biggest drug market--a market where it currently supplies less than 3 percent of the generic meds.

"We are still a very small player in the U.S.," Shanghvi said. "We will have to look at a slightly bigger acquisition rather than to look at very small acquisitions that we have done in the past." Sun already owns controlling interest in Caraco Pharmaceutical Laboratories, but the U.S. generics maker has had its share of FDA woes lately, so Sun can't count on it to pump up growth.

As Bloomberg points out, Sun has made 13 deals in the past 14 years; its most recent was the $454 million, long-drawn-out acquisition of a majority stake in the Israeli drugmaker Taro Pharmaceuticals. Religare Securities analyst Vikas Sonawale told the news service that Sun would need to target a generics maker with more than $300 million in annual sales.

That could cost as much as $1 billion. "It will be a clear-cut shift in strategy," Sonawale said, and might require debt financing. No deal talks are in progress yet, Shanghvi says.

- read the Bloomberg story