Amgen agrees $700m Turkish acquisition

By bne IntelliNews April 26, 2012

Justin Vela in Istanbul -

Amgen, the world's largest biotechnology company, announced on April 25 that it will buy over 95% of Turkey's Mustafa Nevzat Pharmaceuticals (MN Pharma). The $700m deal is the latest in a line of acquisitions by international drugs makers looking to tap into the Turkish market's growing potential.

MN Pharma is a privately owned company specialising in generic injectable drugs. Analysts estimate that generic drugs will account for an ever larger piece of the pie of Turkey's $10bn pharmaceutical market, reports the Financial Times.

Robert A. Bradway, Amgen's president and COO, said: "Together with MN's staff and management team, we plan to grow our business with high quality and innovative medicines in Turkey and the surrounding region." According to MN Pharma, the company's exports are growing rapidly.

In a joint statement, the two companies said that the transaction will boost Amgen's presence in a region that has "large, fast-growing, priority markets," reports Bloomberg.

In the past five years, MN Pharma's revenues have increased by more than 10% annually - it reported revenue of $200m in 2011 - while the wider Turkish pharmaceutical market has put in a generally sluggish performance.

Despite that, the US company is looking to tap the potential of Turkey and its surrounding markets, with economic growth set to power demand for pharmaceuticals. One in every five drugs sold in 2020 will be purchased in China, Russia, Brazil, India, Mexico, Indonesia and Turkey, according to a recent report by PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Amgen joins a growing list of international pharmaceuticals looking to leverage that forthcoming growth. In September, Italy's Recordati bought Dr F Frik Ilac and Poland's Polpharma acquired Cenovapharma in May, just after European pharmaceutical company Nycomed entered into distribution agreements with several local players.

Reform is also part of the story. The government has carried out large-scale health reforms, which have increased many people's access to medical services. Around 98% of the population is now covered by social security.

Meanwhile, Turkey's healthcare spending is spiking. The sector has consistently consumed around 6% of GDP in recent years, whilst the country has seen rapid economic growth over the same period. With a huge social security deficit to deal with, the government is pushing to increase the use of generics as a cost saving measure, with just over half of the market taken by generic drugs.

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