SK Capital Buys Drug Unit from Ion Beam

Private equity shop SK Capital Partners has acquired a 60% stake in the molecular imaging division of Belgian cancer treatment firm Ion Beam Applications, Reuters reported Monday. Ion Beam is expecting to gain over 100 million euros ($127.14 million) after selling the stake.

(Reuters) Belgian cancer treatment firm Ion Beam Applications (IBA) expects to gain over 100 million euros ($127.14 million) after selling a stake of its drugs unit to SK Capital Partners, sending its shares to a six-month high.

It has sold 60 percent of its molecular imaging division — which produces tracer drugs that can be used to help identify cancers with radiology — to U.S. based private investment firm SK Capital Partners, it said on Monday.

While the company now forecasts a “significant” loss for 2011 as it writes down the division to bring it in line with the 180 million euros value of the transaction, it expects to get a cash inflow of more than 100 million once the sale is completed.

To make up for the investments it has already made in the unit, IBA will also receive 60 percent of the profit from new molecules currently being developed by the division, even though SK Capital Partners will own 60 percent of it.

IBA’s shares rose as much as 35 percent after the announcement, reaching a six-month high of 6.5 euros.

Separately, IBA announced a long-planned management reshuffle under which its current chief strategic officer Olivier Legrain will become chief executive on May 9, replacing Pierre Mottet who will be vice-chairman.