Aurobindo Pharma to buy US nutritional supplement maker Natrol for Rs 813 crore

Hyderabad-based generic drug maker Aurobindo Pharma Ltd today announced that its US subsidiary has emerged as the highest bidder for the acquisition of US nutritional supplement maker Natrol with a $132.5- million bid (approximately Rs813 crore).

Under the deal that has to be approved by the US Bankruptcy Court in Delaware district, Aurobindo USA will acquire all the assets of Natrol for $132.5 million and take on certain liabilities.

Aurobindo said that the acquisition of Natrol, a seller of vitamins and supplements as well as diet and weight management products, will help its Aurobindo USA expand its over-the-counter products (OTC) business in the US.

''Aurobindo USA believes that Natrol is an excellent strategic fit and provides the right platform, creating a fully-integrated OTC platform in the US and in other international markets," Aurobindo said in a filing to the BSE.

Natrol and six of its affiliates had filed for bankruptcy protection in June this year, listing total assets of around $500 million, liabilities of about $86 million, including around $70 million owed to private equity firm Cerberus Capital.

Based in Chatsworth, California, Natrol is a wholly-owned subsidiary of units of Mumbai-based Plethico Pharmaceuticals Ltd, which acquired the company in 2008 for $82 million.

Apart from a line of vitamins and supplements, Natrol produces the Prolab and MRI brands of strength and performance products, NuHair and Shen Min for thinning hair, L-Carnitine for sports nutrition, Laci Le Beau tea for dieters and a series for products in diet and weight management.

Founded in 1986 by Ramaprasad Reddy, Nityananda Reddy and a small group of professionals, Aurobindo started operations in 1988-89 with a single unit manufacturing semi-synthetic penicillin at Pondicherry.

Arobindo, which became a public company in 1992 has a product portfolio spread over major product areas and has a presence in key therapeutic segments such as neurosciences, cardiovascular, anti-retrovirals, anti-diabetics, gastroenterology and cephalosporins, among others.

The company markets its products globally, in over 125 countries with more than 70 per cent of its revenues generating from international operations.