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Wed 15 Oct 2008 04:48 PM

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Glaxo buys Bristol-Myers Egypt unit for $210mn

UK drug firm extends reach in emerging markets, acquires 20 branded products.

GlaxoSmithKline is buying the Egyptian mature products business of Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. for $210 million, to extend the British drug company's recent expansion into emerging markets.

The deal "signals our strong commitment to provide quality medicines to patients in Egypt and other countries in the Middle East and North Africa region". Glaxo said on Wednesday.

Glaxo said it will become the leading pharmaceutical company in Egypt with a market share of 9 percent by acquiring 20 branded products in four therapeutic disease areas, including Duricef (antibiotic); Capozide and Capoten (ACE inhibitors); Theragran-H (iron supplement) and Kenacomb (topical steroid).

"I think it's a good move by Glaxo, it's all part of their ongoing strategy... it's minute but it's... an indication that they're prepared to pay up," said Nigel Birks, an analyst at Dresdner Kleinwort.

"It's broadly positive," added WestLB's Simon Mather.

The business being bought generated 2007 sales of $48.5 million. The pharmaceutical market in Egypt is worth $2.1 billion and grew by 19 percent in value last year, Glaxo said.

New Glaxo chief executive Andrew Witty has made emerging markets a priority, a pledge backed up in July by a pioneering deal with South Africa's Aspen Pharmacare Holdings that paved the way for the sale of cheap branded generic medicines in emerging markets.

Glaxo shares were down 0.45 percent at 1,113 pence by 0956 GMT, outperforming the blue-chip FTSE-100 index. (Reuters)

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