Boehringer Ingelheim in the race to buy Lohmann Animal Health

Boehringer IngelheimBoehringer Ingelheim, among the world's top 20 pharmaceutical companies, is close to making an offer for the poultry vaccine and feed additives unit of PHW Group, in order to expand its animal health business, Reuters yesterday reported, citing two people familiar with the matter.

Germany-based Boehringer may submit a bid for PHW Group unit Lohmann Animal Health by a Monday deadline, the report said.

Lohmann Animal Health is valued at about €400 million ($535 million), the report added.

Private equity firms such as Permira are also in the race for Lohmann Animal Health.

PHW Group, Germany's biggest poultry farmer, had in August hired Commerzbank AG to manage a potential sale of its avian-vaccine and feed-additive unit so that the family-owned company could focus on its animal nutrition unit and Wiesenhof poultry food business, which together account for 80 per cent of its €2.3 billion annual sales.

Lohmann Animal Health is one of the world's leading suppliers of avian vaccines and feed additives.

It has a range of innovative vaccines for poultry, such as the world's first oral vaccine against chicken infectious anaemia and highly-effective live vaccines against salmonella.

It also produces a range of feed additives and premixes in its own state-of-the-art facilities in Cuxhaven.

With around 650 employees in more than 30 countries, and production facilities in Germany and the US, Lohmann Animal Health had sales of €256 million last year.

Boehringer Ingelheim expanded its animal health businesses in 2009 when Pfizer and Wyeth decided to sell it certain animal health assets in order to gain regulatory approval for their $68-billion merger. (See: Pfizer, Wyeth to sell animal drugs business to Boehringer)

Its animal health business had net sales of €1.1 billion last year, a year-on-year growth of +8.8 per cent and contributes around 7 per cent to the group's total sales.