Hikma Agrees to Buy Egyptian Drug Company for $22.2 Million

Hikma Pharmaceuticals Plc agreed to buy Egyptian Company for Pharmaceuticals & Chemical Industries for about $22.2 million in cash to strengthen its position in the Egyptian market.

The acquisition of EPCI will add a portfolio of 35 products in 46 dosages and strengths, including three cephalosporin anti-infection brands for the local market, Hikma said today in a statement. The London-based drugmaker expects to complete the purchase before Feb. 14.

“Since we entered the Egyptian market in 2007, we have been rapidly growing our presence,” Hikma Chief Executive Officer Said Darwazah said in the statement. “This acquisition will further accelerate that growth.”

Egypt’s drug market is one of the largest and fastest growing markets in the Middle East and North Africa, Hikma said, citing IMS Health. The private retail market is valued at about $2.3 billion and grew by 11 percent in the 12 months to June 2012, according to the statement.

“The acquisition improves Hikma’s long-term prospects in the region, and should further boost investor confidence that Hikma can deliver on its acquisition strategy,” analysts James Vane-Tempest and Peter Welford of Jefferies International Ltd. in London said today in a note to investors.

Hikma shares rose 1.2 percent to close at 779.50 pence in London.

HC Securities & Investment, based in Cairo, acted as adviser to Hikma on the deal. Matthew Cole, a spokesman for Hikma, said he didn’t have information identifying the investors in the acquired company.

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