* Aspen offers to buy Arixtra and Fraxiparine, plus factory
* Sales of drugs 420 mln pounds in 2012 but in decline
By Ben Hirschler
LONDON, June 18 GlaxoSmithKline is
discussing the sale of its thrombosis drug brands Arixtra and
Fraxiparine, along with a related French factory, to Aspen
Pharmacare in a deal that could be worth some $1
Britain's biggest drugmaker said on Tuesday that Aspen had
offered to buy the medicines, sales of which are in decline, and
it was now in exclusive talks with the South African company
about a deal, which is subject to consultation with employees.
Arixtra and Fraxiparine had worldwide sales of approximately
420 million pounds ($660 million) in 2012, down from 510 million
in 2011, and revenues are expected to slide further in 2013.
Neither company put a value on the proposed deal but
assuming Aspen pays twice this year's anticipated sales, it
could be worth around 700 million pounds - after stripping out
sales in China, India and Pakistan, which GSK will retain.
About 1,000 GSK employees would transfer to Aspen, if the
deal goes through, the majority of whom work at the Notre
Dame de Bondeville production site in France.
GSK said the proposed disposal fitted with its strategy of
focusing on products with the most growth potential and
delivering its new-drug pipeline.
For Aspen, which is already Africa's biggest maker of
generics drugs, the acquisition will fuel its expansion in
Investors in Aspen - 19 percent owned by GSK - warmed to
news of the likely deal and its shares rose 4 percent by 1230
GMT, while GSK was little changed.
Declining products such as Arixtra and Fraxiparine are seen
as a drag on GSK's growth at a time when new drugs are set to
reach the market, and the company said in April it was bundling
many of its older medicines into a new established products
That decision prompted speculation that more old drugs might
be sold off to generate windfall gains, which could be returned
GSK is also divesting its energy and fruit drinks Lucozade
and Ribena in an auction that is expected to get under way later
Aspen and GSK have a long history of doing deals together.
Last year, the British group sold 25 older brands marketed in
Australia to Aspen for 172 million pounds in another clear-out
of non-core drugs.