Citi eyes sale of Egyptian drugmaker Amoun: sources

By Quentin Webb

LONDON (BestGrowthStock) – Citigroup Inc’s (C.N: ) venture capital arm and two other investors are planning to sell Amoun, one of Egypt’s biggest drugmakers, three people familiar with the matter said on Wednesday.

The owners — Citi Venture Capital International (CVCI), together with the emerging-markets focused private equity arm of the Capital Group Cos Inc, and Concord International Investments — are close to hiring Goldman Sachs (GS.N: ) to run the sale, the people said.

The trio bought Amoun, which makes off-patent branded drugs, for about $450 million in 2006. One of the people said it could now be worth roughly $1 billion.

An Amoun spokeswoman did not immediately respond to an emailed request for comment outside Egyptian business hours. Citigroup and Concord had no immediate comment. A spokeswoman for Capital Group said it did not comment on its investments. Goldman declined to comment.

News of a potential sale comes days after people familiar with the matter said another CVCI-led consortium was seeking to sell a second generic drugmaker, Turkey’s Biofarma. That could also be worth nearly $1 billion.

Major pharmaceutical companies, seeking to avert a steep drop-off in revenues as blockbuster drugs lose patents, are keen to expand in both copycat drugs and in faster-growing markets.

Major players such as Abbott Laboratories (ABT.N: ) and Pfizer Inc (PFE.N: ) of the United States, France’s Sanofi-Aventis SA (SASY.PA: ), and Sandoz, the generics unit of Novartis (NOVN.VX: ), could consider bids for Amoun.

A report in May by Business Monitor International forecast pharmaceutical spending in Egypt would grow 11.4 percent a year between 2009 and 2014, to hit $4.2 billion, and would rise at 9.2 percent annually for the rest of the decade.

(Reporting by Quentin Webb; Editing by Elaine Hardcastle and Richard Chang)

Citi eyes sale of Egyptian drugmaker Amoun: sources