Torrent may raise Rs 15 bn via QIP as it readies to bid for Sanofi assets

Ahmedabad-based Torrent Pharmaceuticals is all set to raise around Rs 15 billion through the qualified institutional placement (QIP) route, as it gets ready to bid for Sanofi's generic drugs unit (Zentiva), sources close to the development said. An e-mail sent to the company on the matter remained unanswered.

A source close to the development said that the funds might be used to act as a 'war chest' for Torrent, as it readies to make a bid for the European asset. Another source felt Torrent might also use the funds for capital expenditure purposes apart from the potential acquisition. 

Sanofi's European generic business is valued at around two billion Euros (Rs 160 billion) and if the deal goes through, it would be the largest outbound acquisition by an Indian drug maker.

Torrent has, meanwhile, tied up with lenders to raise around Rs 160 billion or around two billion euros to make a binding offer for the French pharma giant's generic assets by March 28. Bankers associated with the process have confirmed the development. 

Torrent has appointed JP Morgan and JM Financial to help raise the Rs 15 billion. 

Torrent's shareholders' have already given nod to enhance borrowing limit from Rs 100 billion to Rs 150 billion through postal ballot, the company had informed the exchanges earlier this month.

Over a decade ago, Torrent acquired Pfizer Group company Heumann Pharma in Germany and the company's German business generated around Rs 8.1 billion in revenue in FY17. 

Torrent is building its business on acquisitions -- its latest being an overseas one (US-based generic pharma company BioPharm Inc). Earlier, in November last year, it had acquired Unichem's domestic business for Rs 36 billion. While Torrent is working actively to integrate Unichem's business, it had earlier turned around Elder Pharma's domestic business, which it had acquired in 2014. Torrent has more than doubled the portfolio it had acquired from Elder. 

Indian pharmaceutical companies are weighing opportunities in Europe, the second largest market for generic drugs, through acquisitions and new product launches, as drug price erosion in EU is slower than in the US. 

Europe is the third largest market for Indian drug makers, after US and Africa. Over 60 per cent of all medicines consumed in Europe are generics and growth prospects in the continent are driving the interest of Indian pharma companies. 

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