Indian Drug Maker Wockhardt Seeks $200 Million

MUMBAI (Reuters) – Indian drug maker Wockhardt Ltd (WCKH.BO) is in talks with private equity firms to raise $150-200 million to meet convertible bond redemptions that fall due in October, the Mint daily said, citing people familiar with the development.

Wockhardt will need to pay $142.5 billion in October, the paper said, adding the drug maker raised $110 million in overseas convertible bonds in 2004.

The bonds are convertible at 486 rupees a share but Wockhardt’s shares ended at 93.35 rupees on Friday, down 78 percent so far in 2008.

Officials at Wockhardt could not be reached for comment.

“Wockhardt is in the process of evaluating various options to raise additional funds including equity participation. However, we are not evaluating a strategic partnership,” the paper quoted an unnamed company official as saying.

The firm has not mandated any banker to advise on the deal but has had discussions with at least two private equity firms. An overseas drug maker has also expressed interest to buy a strategic stake, the paper said.

A stake sale at current prices to raise the required money could cut the founder’s stake to 43.3 percent from 73.6 percent, the paper said.

(Reporting by Narayanan Somasundaram; Editing by Ben Tan)