Nycomed Bids for Solvay’s Pharma Business

LONDON (Reuters) – Private-equity owned Nycomed and a Japanese drugs company are in the early second round of an auction for all of Solvay’s pharmaceuticals business, a person familar with the matter said on Wednesday.

Analysts reckon the Belgian chemicals and drug maker’s Solvay Pharmaceuticals unit could fetch 5 billion euros ($7 billion) or more, although Solvay has said it is open to other options such as a partnership or flotation. Abbott Laboratories (ABT.N), Solvay’s partner for its cholesterol-fighting blockbuster TriCor, is not seeking to buy the whole unit, but the U.S. drugmaker is interested in acquiring TriCor and possibly other parts of Solvay’s drugs business, the person added. Solvay hopes to conclude a deal by the end of the European summer, the person said, but has yet to set a deadline for binding, second-round bids.

By Quentin Webb
(additional reporting by Philip Blenkinsop in Brussels and Sam Cage in Zurich; Editing by Erica Billingham)