France's Sanofi to carve out active drug ingredients firm

PARIS (Reuters) – Sanofi (SASY.PA) plans to create a standalone company dedicated to making active pharmaceutical ingredients (API), components that are biologically active in a drug, and will decide whether to list it on Euronext Paris by 2022.

French drugmaker Sanofi said on Monday it would create the business on the back of the combination of its API commercial and development activities with six of its European API production sites in Italy, Germany, Britain, France and Hungary.

Europe’s pharmaceutical sector is highly dependent on raw materials and active ingredients from Asia, buying products from companies such as India’s Sun Pharmaceuticals (SUN.NS) and Aurobindo Pharma (ARBN.NS).

Sanofi said the new group will be headquartered in France, operate with at least 3,100 skilled employees and have sales estimated at around 1 billion euros ($1.08 billion) by 2022.

“Sanofi is fully committed to the new company’s success and intends to establish a long-term customer relationship with the new API supplier and to hold a minority stake of approximately 30% in the new company,” it said in a statement.

France’s CGT union said the announcement was detrimental to staff and was putting the future of factories at risk.

“Clearly, the management is willing to outsource production. Retaining a 30% stake in the new entity is purely to look good,” a spokesman for the union said.

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