Amgen buys Brazilian company for $215 million

NEW YORK (Reuters) – U.S. biotechnology company Amgen Inc (AMGN.O: Quote, Profile, Research) is expanding in Brazil, announcing on Friday it had acquired privately-held Bergamo for about $215 million while reacquiring rights in the country to several Amgen products.

Bergamo, which had $80 million in revenue last year, supplies medicines to the Brazilian hospital sector and has capabilities in oncology, Amgen said.

Amgen also agreed with Hypermarcas (HYPE3.SA: Quote, Profile, Research), a maker of personal hygiene products, to reacquire Brazilian rights to several products, including its Vectibix cancer drug.

The moves provide “an attractive entry into the Brazilian market,” Amgen Chief Executive Kevin Sharer said in a statement.

The Brazilian pharmaceutical market has been growing at a rate of about 12 percent per year and is expected to be the world’s fifth-largest pharmaceutical market by 2015, Amgen said.

The expansion in Brazil is the latest sign that Amgen is becoming more like large pharmaceutical companies, which are looking to reap more sales from Brazil and other emerging economies. Pressure is also mounting on the biotechnology company to initiate a dividend, which would also bring it more in line with drugmakers.

“We expect Amgen to continue to be acquisitive and see similar transactions,” Deutsche Bank analyst Robyn Karnauskas said in a research note.

Amgen, based in Thousand Oaks, California, will hold a meeting with Wall Street analysts on April 21 at which the company is expected to outline its strategies, including details on its previously-stated goal of a wider geographic footprint.

Amgen shares were up 0.5 percent at $54.26 in afternoon trading on Nasdaq.

(Reporting by Lewis Krauskopf and Deena Beasley; editing by Gerald E. McCormick and Tim Dobbyn)

Amgen buys Brazilian company for $215 million