French drug giant Sanofi not to sell chemical division Cepia

French drug giant Sanofi SA has decided not to sell its Commercial & External Partnership Industrial Affairs (Cepia) division, a spokeswoman for the company today said.

"I can confirm we have decided to keep the division within the company," she said, adding that a recent improvement in Cepia's results, as well as a better outlook for it, was behind this choice, Reuters reported.

The sale of Cepia would have fetched Sanofi up to €1 billion ($1.10 billion), banking sources told Reuters last month.

Cepia, which is within the Industrial Affairs Division of Sanofi, offers a broad range of solutions including, intermediates and active pharmaceutical ingredients (API), custom synthesis and API contract manufacturing from small molecules to biologics, from lab scale to commercial quantities and pharmaceutical contract manufacturing

It employs 200 people, 16 chemical & biotech sites in 6 countries, 38 pharmaceutical sites in 25 countries worldwide, and has annual sales of around €600 million, with 90 per cent of them generated outside France.

Cepia has an extensive portfolio of approximately 200 active ingredients that are produced at 16 sites, mostly in Europe. The majority of these sites are in fact found in different regions of France at Amilly, Aramon, Elbeuf, Mourenx, Sisteron, Vertolaye, and Vitry

In recent times, Asian countries like China and India have captured more than 70 per cent of the global production of active pharmaceutical ingredients market, but despite often higher prices, large laboratories prefer to work with European and American API companies.