April 25 (Bloomberg) -- General Atlantic LLC is in talks to buy a minority stake in closely held drug company Laboratorios Sanfer SA in its first investment in a Mexican firm, people with knowledge of the matter said.
With the stake, the private-equity firm would provide a capital infusion as the manufacturer of antibiotics and blood pressure medications moves toward a possible initial public offering in the next two years, the people said, asking not to be identified because the information is private.
While talks are at an advanced stage, they could still fall apart, one of the people said. Sanfer had about $400 million in revenue last year, according to the person.
A constitutional overhaul approved last year to open up the energy industry in Mexico is raising expectations for a pickup in investment and economic growth in Latin America’s second-biggest economy. Bain & Co. said in a report last year that higher per capita output would probably increase demand for hospitals and medicine, making health care among the most likely industries to benefit from private-equity funding.
Sanfer’s IPO would be the first by a Mexican pharmaceutical company since Genomma Lab Internacional SAB raised about 2.09 billion pesos ($160 million) in 2008. The shares have almost quadrupled since the Mexico City-based company’s debut.
An official for General Atlantic declined to comment on the investment, while Sanfer didn’t respond to phone calls and an e-mail seeking comment.
General Atlantic is in the process of opening an office in Mexico, one person said.
The Greenwich, Connecticut-based firm, with about $17 billion in assets, already has an office in Sao Paulo, and has invested about $1 billion in companies in Latin America, according to its website. Its investments in the region include Smiles SA, the Brazilian frequent flier program that conducted an IPO last year.
More Pharma Corp., the Mexican drug marketer backed by Evercore Partners Inc. and Southern Cross Group, has hired JPMorgan Chase & Co. to seek a buyer, a person with knowledge of the matter said last month.
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