January 25, 2018 / 7:42 AM / a year ago

UK's Dechra to buy Dutch firms AST Farma, Le Vet for $422 million

(Reuters) - Veterinary firm Dechra Pharmaceuticals Plc said it would buy the Netherlands-based AST Farma and Le Vet for a total of 340 million euros ($422.1 million) in a cash-and-share deal to boost its presence in Europe.

The debt-free, cash-free deal will see Dechra paying about 75 percent in cash and 25 percent in new Dechra shares, subject to a two-year lock-in, Dechra said in a statement.

AST Farma is an animal pharmaceuticals firm that specializes in generic products, while Le Vet focuses on the European markets outside of the Netherlands.

Dechra plans to raise about 100 million pounds ($142.5 million) through a placing of 5.1 million new ordinary shares at 2,050 pence each with institutional investors to fund the deal.

The company will also issue 3.67 million new ordinary shares to the sellers.

Dechra, which has been looking to acquire AST Farma and Le Vet for a number of years, said it intended to recommend its shareholders to vote in favor of the deal.

“The acquisition is a rare opportunity to strengthen our EU segment in all the major European countries in which we operate,” Dechra Chief Executive Ian Page said.

Shares of Dechra were up 3.8 percent at 2,140 pence at 0845 GMT in London.

Reporting By Justin George Varghese in Bengaluru; Editing by Gopakumar Warrier

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