China slaps Fosun Pharma unit with small fine for anti-monopoly violations

China's commerce ministry has lightly slapped a unit of Shanghai Fosun Pharmaceutical Group with a fine for acquiring a stake in a Suzhou-based company without government approval.

The Ministry of Commerce said on its website that the fine of RMB200,000 ($31,438) was linked to a deal Fosun Pharma Industrial Development made in 2014 to acquire a 65% stake in Suzhou Erye Pharma, Reuters said.

The Fosun Pharma unit had already transferred a 35% stake in the company before it obtained government approval for the transaction, violating antimonopoly laws, Reuters said, citing the ministry statement.

Officials with Fosun could not be reached for comment, Reuters said.

Shanghai Fosun Pharmaceutical is in the process of a 5-year overseas expansion plan in which it will use an $805 million war chest to make acquisitions. The Shanghai-based company has been the most active buyer in China's healthcare industry, making 17 deals worth $1.6 billion since 2010, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Fosun is seeking to upend a market in which thousands of small manufacturers compete over low-cost generic drugs while foreign companies dominate on innovation and has joined with other domestic companies in that effort abroad while also competing with them at home.

Earlier this year, Fosun Pharma joined three other investors in the purchase of U.S.-based biotech Ambrx.

- here's the story from Reuters