Stada lifts forecasts after telling suitors to raise bids: Reuters

German drugmaker Stada (STAGn.DE), at the center of a takeover battle between two private equity consortia, has raised its medium-term forecasts, pressing for a higher valuation after telling suitors their 4.7 billion euro ($5 billion) bids were too low.

Anticipating growth in its core generics business and additional cost savings the company now expects adjusted earnings before interest tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) to come in at between 570 million euros and 590 million in 2019.

Previously the company had said it expected adjusted EBITDA to reach about 510 million euros by then.

The takeover battle for Stada pits a combination of Advent and Permira against Bain and Cinven. Both have now made takeover offers at 58 euros per share, valuing the company at 4.7 billion euros including debt, according to people familiar with the matter.

However, Stada abruptly postponed the bidding process on Thursday evening to give the rival suitors a chance to improve their offers.

It denied reports that it wanted give a potential third consortium comprising a buyout group and a strategic investor time to enter the process.

Reuters has also reported that China’s Shanghai Fosun Pharmaceutical (600196.SS) is looking into entering the bidding tussle, potentially siding with an investor such as CVC.

Stada shares traded 0.6 percent lower at 56.5 euros by 1135 GMT and analysts warned of a risk of the bidding fizzling out.

“Stada is playing a risky game in our view… In a worst case scenario, even as it is unlikely in our view, the bidders could withdraw from the bidding process,” brokerage Warburg said in a research note.

Increasing bids further without tying up with a strategic investor, who would be able to realize potential synergies, is seen as challenging for the buyout groups, analysts said.

“The indicative offers, which are said to amount to 58 euros plus dividend, are likely to already widely reflect the increased targets. Therefore, we would not expect the bids to be increased substantially,” said Thomas Maul, analyst at DZ Bank.

Stada also said that it expects 2019 adjusted group sales of between 2.65 billion euros and 2.7 billion, up from a previous outlook of about 2.6 billion euros, and adjusted net income at between 250 million euros and 270 million.