Sanitas ready to raise offer for Poland's Jelfa

  • 2006-02-22
  • From wire reports
VILNIUS - Lithuania's largest pharmaceutical company, Sanitas, announced plans to up its offer for a stake in Jelfa, the Polish drug-maker currently for sale.
Sanitas reportedly sent a letter to Polish authorities saying it was prepared to raise its original offer of 74.7 million euros for a 47.83 percent stake in Jelfa, one of Poland's largest pharmaceutical companies. The purchase would give Sanitas a controlling stake, since it already owns a 5 percent interest in Jelfa.

However, Logis Partners, a rival bidder, has said that it would pay 90 zlotys per share in Jelfa 's compared with Sanitas' 87.1 zlotys 's if it received an offer to buy 50 percent plus one share in the pharmaceutical company.

In order to overtake the new bid, the Lithuanian company will have to raise its offer by 8.5 million litas (2.4 million euros).

The stake is being sold by the Polish Industry Development Agency, Poland's state property fund and the insurance group PZU.

The decision to revise the move shows the determination of Sanitas executives to take over the Polish company and become one of the biggest pharmaceutical companies in Eastern Europe.

CEO Saulius Jurgelenas said that the company was considering "other options," such as offering to buy 66 percent or even 100 percent of Jelfa's stock.

The sale has reportedly attracted attention from Polish politicians.

Sanitas, which is listed on the Vilnius Stock Exchange, last year bought Hoechst-Biotika, Slo-vakia's third largest pharmaceutical plant.

The company plans a new equity issue worth 16 million litas to raise money for the acquisition of the Polish company.

Earlier this month, Sanitas announced that it posted 11 million litas in consolidated net profits on sales of 61.3 million for 2005, beating its targets. The preliminary earnings were 17.2 percent above the group's forecast, while sales exceeded the original target by 2.9 percent.

Sanitas is also building a new $12 million production plant in Kaunas that will have a capacity of making 1 billion pills annually.

Sanitas is controlled by Invalda, an investment firm.