Turkey's Sanovel joins the emerging-markets deal buffet

The emerging-markets deals just keep popping up. Now, it's a Turkish drugmaker on the block, in a buyout that could be worth $1 billion.

As Bloomberg reports, the Turkish food and pharma company Toksoz Holding is shopping its drug-making unit Sanovel Ilac Sanayi & Ticaret. Sanovel brought in $227 million in sales to pharmacies last year, on its portfolio of anti-inflammatories, antibiotics and other drugs, the news service's sources say, making it one of the country's top 10 drugmakers.

Turkey is one of the world's faster-growing pharma markets, among the "pharmerging" markets tapped for expansion by the IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics. Major drugmakers seeking new sources of growth have moved into the country or beefed up operations there.

For example, Sanofi's ($SNY) generics unit Zentiva, for instance, last year said it would move most of its production to a Turkish plant. Amgen agreed to pay $700 million for generics maker Mustafa Nevzat, in a sales process that saw GlaxoSmithKline ($GSK), Pfizer ($PFE), Merck ($MRK), and Eli Lilly ($LLY) take a look. Japan's Otsuka was said to be negotiating a joint venture with Abdi Ibrahim.

But all this doesn't mean operating in Turkey is easy. As Bloomberg points out, political unrest could make it difficult to get deals done. PricewaterhouseCoopers pointed out in a report on the Turkish market could use some incentives for R&D investment. And the country itself spends very little on drugs; increasing that to 1.35% of its GDP could help support industry growth in the country.

- see the Bloomberg news

Special Report: Top Biopharma M&A Deals - 2012