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Sanofi to Buy Indian Nutraceutical Unit; Terms Not Disclosed

Sanofi agreed to buy a unit of India’s Universal Medicare Ltd. that makes branded health and nutrition treatments as the French drugmaker tries to increase sales from non-prescription products.

The boards of both companies have approved the deal, which is expected to close in the fourth quarter of this year subject to conditions, Sanofi’s Aventis Pharma Ltd. unit said in a statement on its website today, without specifying the conditions. The purchase price is about 5 billion rupees ($109 million), Reuters reported, citing two people with direct knowledge of the matter.

The acquisition gives Sanofi a business that makes more than 40 products in a category known as “nutraceuticals,” including vitamins, antioxidants, mineral supplements and anti-arthritics. The unit had sales of about 1.1 billion rupees in the 12 months ended March 31. Paris-based Sanofi is looking to emerging markets and consumer products to replace revenue it’s losing as patents expire on some of its best- selling pharmaceuticals.

“This strategic acquisition will allow Aventis Pharma and Sanofi Group to reach out to large sections of India’s population through a broad offering comprising of pharmaceuticals, vaccines and now neutraceuticals,” Shailesh Ayyangar, Aventis Pharma’s managing director, said in the statement.

About 750 employees of Mumbai-based Universal Medicare will join Aventis, according to the statement.

Sanofi in February acquired China’s BMP Sunstone Corp., a maker of children’s cough and cold treatments, for $520.6 million.

-- Editors: Robert Valpuesta, Phil Serafino.

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