Teva Said to Consider Options for Branded Generics Unit

  • Israeli drugmaker also said weighing other non-core sales
  • Branded unit could be valued at several billion dollars

Israeli drugmaker Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. is weighing options including a sale of its branded generics products business as it works to reduce debt, according to people familiar with the matter.

The business could be valued at several billion dollars, and Teva may also consider spinning off the unit, the people said, asking not to be identified because the deliberations are private. The plans are at an early stage, and Teva’s primary focus is finding a new chief executive officer after Erez Vigodman stepped down suddenly earlier this month, one of the people said.

Teva may also opt to sell other non-core assets, such as its active pharmaceutical ingredients business, the people said. A spokeswoman for Petach Tikva, Israel-based Teva declined to comment.

Teva, the world’s biggest maker of generic drugs, reaffirmed its 2017 profit forecast on Monday after cutting its outlook in January. The announcement surprised investors who had speculated that Vigodman’s departure last week was a prelude to cutting the company’s outlook.

“We are very committed to this EPS range, and the management team and I will do whatever it takes to protect it, including additional cost reductions,” Interim CEO Yitzhak Peterburg said on a conference call Monday. “We will be looking at every part of our business, including our current global manufacturing footprint, key therapeutic areas, pipeline assets in both specialty and generics and existing business lines and markets.”

Teva is working with Heidrick & Struggles International Inc. to search for Vigodman’s replacement, a spokeswoman said Monday.

Teva’s debt pile ballooned after a series of acquisitions, including a $40.5 billion purchase of Allergan Plc’s generics business and a $2.3 billion acquisition of Mexican drugmaker Representaciones e Investigaciones Medicas SA, known as Rimsa. The company’s debt was $35.8 billion as of Dec. 31.

(A previous version of this story was corrected to remove an erroneous description of the unit in the second deck head and fourth paragraph.)

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