Hikma to Keep Injectable-Drug Unit After Completing Review

Hikma Pharmaceuticals Plc (HIK) will keep its injectable-drug business after concluding a review of the unit, saying the long-term growth potential is excellent. The stock fell as much as 8.4 percent in London.

“We are confident that retaining and continuing to invest in this business is the best option for shareholders,” Chief Executive Officer Said Darwazah said in a statement today. “Injectables offers excellent long-term growth prospects and will remain an integral part of our overall growth strategy.”

Hikma said March 1 it was considering a possible sale after receiving unsolicited approaches for the business, the second- biggest by volume in the U.S. Amgen Inc. (AMGN) and Novartis AG (NOVN) were among the companies that expressed interest, and the operation could have fetched $2 billion in a sale, two people with knowledge of the matter said last month.

The stock fell 7.2 percent at 8:12 a.m. local time, the biggest intraday decline since August 2011, giving the London- based company a market value of 1.8 billion pounds ($2.7 billion).

Potential buyers showed a “significant amount of interest,” Hikma said in the statement. Spokesman Matthew Cole declined to comment further on the review.

Hikma expanded the business in 2010 with a $112 million purchase from Baxter International Inc. (BAX) The company said in November the unit has been performing ahead of expectations and that full-year sales could reach about $460 million, exceeding an earlier estimate.

“It validates that there is more value in that business and that they think they can grow it,” Savvas Neophytou, an analyst at Panmure Gordon in London, said by telephone.

To contact the reporter on this story: Andrea Gerlin in London at agerlin@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Phil Serafino at pserafino@bloomberg.net

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