Abbott plans Russian flu vaccine company buyout

Pharma giant Abbott Laboratories ($ABT) has filed an application to acquire Russia's Petrovax Pharm, its flu vaccines partner. Such a deal would become one of the top three largest in the history of the Russian pharmaceutical market, experts say.

A team of Russian flu vaccine researchers founded Petrovax in 1996. Last year, the company's sales hit $98 million, Izvestia reports, placing the company 12th among domestic pharma companies. Both companies declined to comment on the deal.

But Izvestia's sources say Abbott filed for approval to acquire 62.5% of Petrovax. This includes the 25% stake the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development acquired for $27 million in 2008, the 18.77% stake of co-founder and CEO Arkady Nekrasov, and fellow co-founder Natalya Puchkova's 18.74%. Petrovax owns the rest of its shares. Analysts value the deal at up to $294 million.

The deal would make Abbott the only American company to own production facilities in Russia. DSM analyst Yulia Nechayeva believes that Abbott wants to become localized in the Russian market. DSM says the company annually sells $430 million worth of product in a market worth $30 billion, the paper reports, which doesn't even qualify for the domestic top 10. Petrovax already manufactures Pfizer's ($PFE) pneumococcal vaccine.

- see the Izvestia piece
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