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Bausch & Lomb buys share in Chinese firm


Rochester, NY—In a move designed to jump-start its Asian sales, Bausch & Lomb has agreed to buy a 55% share in China's leading ophthalmic pharmaceutical company for $200 million.

Rochester, NY-In a move designed to jump-start its Asian sales, Bausch & Lomb has agreed to buy a 55% share in China's leading ophthalmic pharmaceutical company for $200 million.

The deal with Sino Biopharmaceutical Ltd. gives Bausch & Lomb controlling interest in its Shandong Chia Tai Freda Pharmaceutical Group (CTF), a developer, manufacturer, and marketer of medications to treat ocular inflammation and infection, glaucoma, and dry eye. CTF, which has about 1,300 employees-half of whom work in sales and marketing-recorded sales of $62 million in 2004.

Bausch & Lomb has also agreed in principle to pay $54.5 million for a future acquisition of an additional 15% interest in CTF held by two other entities.

"The acquisition of this well-known and respected local pharmaceutical company, combined with Bausch & Lomb's strong brand and longtime leadership in vision-care products in China, will significantly enhance our presence in China's ophthalmic pharmaceutical market," said Ronald L. Zarrella, Bausch & Lomb's chairman and chief executive officer, in a statement.

"CTF will provide Bausch & Lomb access to a national network of pharmaceutical sales representatives and distributors, strong domestic brands, a GMP-certified manufacturing facility, and expertise in regulatory affairs and product development, all of which we view as a springboard for further growth in this strategically important market," Zarrella said.

The deal strengthens Bausch & Lomb's status in China, where it already makes and markets the country's leading brands of contact lenses and lens-care products. Bausch & Lomb also sells its products for refractive and cataract surgeries in China.

CTF, a joint venture led by the C.P. Healthcare Group under the Thai-Chinese conglomerate Chaoroen Pokphand Group, was formed in 1991 in Jinan, capital of the Shandong province, with a mandate to raise China's biotechnology industry to international levels. Other joint venture partners are Freda International Inc. of the United States and Shandong Biochemical Pharmaceutical Co.

Chief Executive Officer Ling Peixue declined requests for an interview about the acquisition. However, marketing manager Huang Xiaodong said the deal, announced July 5, had no immediate impact on operations.

"At present, all aspects of our operations are normal, and have not been affected by the announcement," Xiaodong told Ophthalmology Times China by telephone from Jinan.

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