Hikma Has Up to $600 Million for Acquisitions, Darwazah Says

Hikma Pharmaceuticals Plc has as much as $600 million to fund acquisitions in the Middle East and Africa and hopes to close a second deal this year after buying Egyptian Company for Pharmaceuticals & Chemical Industries.

“We currently have a war chest of between $400 million and $600 million for acquisitions,” Mazen Darwazah, Chief Executive Officer for the Middle East and North Africa, said in an interview at the World Economic Forum in Jordan today. “We’re looking in Turkey, the Middle East, Africa and the former Soviet Union states.”

Hikma, based in London, expects to close one “small or medium-size” acquisition this year, Darwazah said. The company also plans to invest more than $100 million in sub-Saharan, western and eastern Africa through acquisitions and new business, he said.

Hikma in January agreed to buy Egyptian Company for Pharmaceuticals & Chemical Industries for about $22.2 million in cash. The company also expanded its business in 2010 with a $112 million purchase from Baxter International Inc.

Hikma last month said it will keep its injectable-drug business after concluding a review of the unit, saying the long-term growth potential is excellent. The company said it was considering a possible sale after receiving unsolicited approaches for the business, the second-biggest by volume in the U.S. Amgen Inc. and Novartis AG 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 in March.

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