Sanofi Said to Mull Sale of Bio-Surgery, Renal Businesses

  • Potential disposals considered as part of strategic review
  • Drugmaker is also weighing options for Merial animal health

Drugmaker Sanofi is considering the disposal of its bio-surgery and renal units as part of a business review led by Chief Executive Officer Olivier Brandicourt, according to people familiar with the situation. Shares of the drugmaker jumped the most in a month.

Paris-based Sanofi, France’s biggest company by market value, is also considering options for its Merial animal health unit, three of the people said, asking not to be identified as the deliberations are private. No final decision has been made and Sanofi may choose to keep the assets, they said. An update on the process is expected at an investor meeting in November.

A spokesman for Sanofi declined to comment.

Shares of Sanofi rose as much as 4.1 percent before trading up 3.8 percent to 87.59 euros as of 11:15 a.m. Paris time. The stock has climbed 16 percent this year.

The bio-surgery business, which the company obtained through the 2011 purchase of Genzyme Corp., has annual sales of about 200 million euros, one of the people said. Sanofi does not break out sales figures for its renal or bio-surgery units. The company may also look at options for Oenobiol, the maker of nutritional, health and beauty supplements that it bought in 2009, one of the people said.

Brandicourt said shortly after taking the CEO role in April that he would assess opportunities to make the most of Sanofi’s portfolio, which is comprised of businesses ranging from vaccines to emerging markets as well as consumer and animal health care. In July, three months after taking the helm, the 59-year-old CEO started reshaping the business, creating three new business units and reshuffling responsibilities among some of its top managers.

Options for Merial, which had sales of 2.1 billion euros in 2014, include a potential spinoff or seeking partners to join the shareholder structure, the people said. Merial already operates as an independent unit, and Sanofi’s priority is to streamline other parts of the business, one of the people said.

Brandicourt, who joined the company following the ouster of the previous CEO, Chris Viehbacher, in October last year, is scheduled to hold an investor day on Nov. 6 in Paris.

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