TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan’s Takeda Pharmaceutical Co Ltd (4502.T) said it would sell up to $670 million of over-the-counter drug operations in Europe to pare debt ahead of its full-year earnings announcement.
Takeda, Japan’s biggest pharma company, has pledged to sell $10 billion in non-core assets to reduce leverage following its $59 billion purchase of Shire Plc, completed in January 2019. The company is due to release full-year earnings on May 13.
Takeda said on Friday it would sell selected OTC and prescription products that are sold in Europe to Denmark-based Orifarm Group. The sale, which includes two manufacturing sites in Denmark and Poland, would amount to about $670 million subject to customary legal and regulatory closing conditions.
The announcement followed a report by Nikkei Business that Takeda was seeking to sell its Japan-based consumer health unit for around 400 billion yen ($3.72 billion).
Possible buyers of Takeda Consumer Healthcare Co include Taisho Pharmaceutical Co. (4581.T) and large investment funds, Nikkei reported. Takeda and Taisho declined to comment.
“The Japanese consumer healthcare business is not one of the company’s core businesses and has little to no overlap with them, so this divestiture does not surprise me,” said Morningstar analyst Jay Lee.
Takeda Chief Executive Christophe Weber had said last year that a sale of the Japan-focused consumer unit, known for its Alinamin line of energy drinks, was unlikely.
Takeda completed $7 billion of divestments in calendar 2019, including assets in the Middle East and Africa and a dry-eye drug sold for $5.3 billion to Novartis (NOVN.S), Refinitiv data showed. It announced last month the sale of non-core products in Latin America to Hypera Pharma for $825 million.
Takeda's shares rose 2.2% in Tokyo trading versus a 0.9% drop in the broader market .N225. Takeda shares are still down 14% so far this year.
Reporting by Rocky Swift; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman and David Evans