Omega Pharma Shares Rise on Newspaper Report of Possible Management Buyout

Omega Pharma (OME) NV, Belgium’s biggest supplier of consumer-health products, rose the most in almost three years in Brussels trading after De Tijd reported that the company is in informal talks that may lead to a buyout.

Omega Pharma, whose brands include Prevalin allergy treatments and Dermalex skin-care products, reviews possible changes to its structure “on a frequent basis” and it’s premature to comment further, the Nazareth, Belgium-based company said in a statement today. Omega Pharma has a market value of about 891.2 million euros ($1.27 billion).

Talks are preliminary with no agreement on a price, De Tijd reported, without saying where it got the information. Mark Coucke, chief executive officer and holder of 30 percent of Omega Pharma, would stay on and remain a shareholder, the newspaper said. Waterland Private Equity Investments BV is a potential candidate for the purchase, the newspaper said.

Omega Pharma rose 4.81 euros, or 15 percent, to close at 36.78 euros, the biggest advance since July 18, 2008.

Omega Pharma said it frequently analyzes “several scenarios relating to the structure in which the company could optimally evolve,” adding that “the current lines of thinking are too premature for providing further information.”

Communication

The company will “communicate if and when a relevant fact would occur or a decision would be taken in this context,” it said. “That is not the case today, and it is not clear whether or not it would eventually come to that stage.”

Chris Van Raemdonck, spokesman for Omega Pharma, declined to elaborate on the statement when reached by telephone today.

Waterland bought 24 percent of Arseus NV, a supplier of ingredients to pharmacies, from Omega Pharma in 2009. Margreet Vos, a spokeswoman for Waterland in Bussum, the Netherlands, declined to comment.

Omega Pharma Chief Operating Officer Georges De Vos resigned in February because of “differences in vision.” The company’s country manager for Belgium, Bart Meermans, left at the same time.

Before today, the stock had lost 2.1 percent including reinvested dividends in the past year, compared with a 36 percent return for the MSCI World Health Care Small Cap Index.

To contact the reporters on this story: Andrew Clapham in Brussels at aclapham@bloomberg.net; Phil Serafino in Paris at pserafino@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Angela Cullen at acullen8@bloomberg.net

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