India's Aventis Pharma, a unit of French drug maker Sanofi, is close to buying the over-the-counter business of Universal Medicare for about $109.5 million, two sources with direct knowledge of the matter said, according to Reuters.
A deal, which covers about 30 brands sold by unlisted India-based Universal Medicare, is expected to be signed and would boost the French company's over-the-counter business in India, the sources said.
"Sanofi's OTC business in India was quite nominal ... and the products are profit making," one of the sources said.
The over-the-counter products segment in India is valued at roughly 20-30 billion rupees and is growing at 17-18% annually, faster than the 12-15% growth in the broader pharmaceutical sector, according to ICICI Securities analyst Siddhant Khandekar.
"Sanofi has been looking for OTC brands and this is just like grabbing an opportunity for them," he said.
Earlier, the Economic Times reported that Sanofi was in advanced talks for a strategic tie-up with Universal Medicare, which makes popular cod liver oil capsules brand Seacod.
The acquisition has a medium-term non-compete clause for Universal Medicare and also involves the transfer of related marketing and distribution operations to Aventis Pharma, the sources said.