J&J, Novartis, Takeda, keen on buying controlling stake in Brazilian drug maker Hypermarcas

Johnson & Johnson, Novartis AG and Takeda Pharmaceutical Co Ltd are keen in buying the controlling stake held by two families in Brazilian diversified pharmaceutical firm Hypermarcas SA, Reuters reported, citing people with knowledge of the matter.

The interest comes three months after Hypermarcas agreed to sell its personal hygiene business to Ontex Group NV, a Belgium-based producer of disposable personal hygiene solutions for babies, women and adults, for €286 million. (See: Belgium's Ontex to buy personal hygiene business of Brazil's Hypermarcas)

The owners of investment vehicles Igarapava Participações SA and Maiorem SA de CV, which hold a combined 34 per cent of Hypermarcas, have hired Banco Bradesco and Credit Suisse to advise them on options for their stakes, including a sale, the report said.

A acquisition of 34-per cent stake held by Brazilian billionaire João Alves Queiroz Filho and the Mexican family that own Igarapava and Maiorem, would automatically trigger a buyout of minority shareholders, the report added.

The São Paulo-based company has recently been focusing on its OTC products after earlier having sold its personal care brands to Coty Inc as well as to Reckitt Benckiser.

Founded in 2001, Hypermarcas is the largest pharmaceutical company in Brazil and holds a 14-per cent market share.

It is also the largest in the OTC market and holds leadership in the anti-flu, analgesic and stomach segments, among others.

Its brands include Benegrip, Engov, Rinosoro, Epocler, Stomazil, Atroveran, Alivium and Tamarine.

The company is the second largest in the market of similar and generics, under the brand Neo Química. 

Hypermarcas operates five plants with 13 different production lines in the states of Goias, Santa Catarina, São Paulo and Rio Grande do Sul and employs around 11,500 people.