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Abbott not to be merged with Pharmacia

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Dr Venkat Sohoni (right), President and Managing Director, Pharmacia India Pvt Ltd, with Mr K.G. Ananthakrishnan, Vice-President (Marketing & Sales), at a press conference in Mumbai on Saturday.

MUMBAI, April 20

PHARMACIA Corporation today said that it would not merge Abbott Laboratories, in which it had acquired majority stake early this year, with itself.

The company also does not have any plans to delist Abbott, Dr Venkat Sohoni, President and Managing Director of Pharmacia India Pvt Ltd, said.

Dr Sohoni was speaking on the sidelines of the company's press conference to announce the completion of taking over the management control of Abbott Laboratories India Ltd.

Dr Sohoni said the board of directors of Abbott Laboratories India Ltd had met on April 19 to elect a new board and to approve a change in the name of the company to Pharmacia Healthcare Ltd.

Pharmacia Corporation had bought 51.5 per cent equity of Abbott India from Abbott US for a consideration of $13.5 million. After an open offer, the company increased its stake to 75.1 per cent by acquiring 23.6 per cent from the public at Rs 245 per share.

"The new structure of Pharmacia India's business operation now includes Pharmacia Healthcare Ltd and Pharmacia India Pvt Ltd. Both will be one operationally with co-marketing agreement. The combined field force of the two companies will be about 500," Dr Sohoni said. With this acquisition, the combined operations of Pharmacia will have sales of Rs 123.5 crore and hold 0.8 per cent market share in the Indian domestic industry.

The business divisions will include pharma, oncology, ophthalmology, endocrinology and urology/gynaecology. "Pharmacia growth plans now involves introduction of six brands viz., Detrusitol (overactive bladder), Aromasin (breast cancer), Caverjet (erectile dysfunction), Xalacom (glaucoma), Healon 5 (cataract) and Medrol tablets (asthma and allergies). We will be launching Aromasin in the second half of the year," Mr K.G. Ananthakrishnan, Vice-President (Marketing & Sales), Pharmacia India Pvt Ltd.

Pharmacia will invest $0.8 million on the modernisation of the Ankleshwar plant. "The process will be completed in six to eight months.

"We are planning to increase the utilisation of plant capacity by manufacturing some of Pharmacia's products which are currently being imported," he said.

According to Dr Sohoni, the company is also evaluating the option of making some of its products available as over-the-counter drugs, mainly its Vitamin range.

"One of the synergy areas is the OTC drugs. If the Government agrees to amend the Schedule Y of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, we will consider making an application for our Vitamins range to be sold as OTC," Dr Sohoni said.

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