Drugs giant Aesica gets boost thanks to equity firm

DRUGS giant Aesica has won a majority investment from European private equity firm Silverfleet Capital which will boost its expansion plans.

DRUGS giant Aesica has won a majority investment from European private equity firm Silverfleet Capital which will boost its expansion plans.

The Newcastle-based company said it expects to see its turnover rise from around £90m last year to about £115m this year as it continues its global growth.

It is likely to focus on driving ahead sales and production in the US and Asia after the Silverfleet investment which replaces the investment from private equity firm LDC which backed its launch in a buy-out from BASF in 2004.

Members of Aesica’s executive team will reinvest a significant amount of money for a large minority stake in the company which has grown dramatically through a string of acquisitions in the last year.

Dr Robert Hardy, CEO of Aesica, said: “We have known the team at Silverfleet Capital for a number of years and chosen them as our financial partner because of their deep knowledge of our market and their experience and successful track record of building global businesses of scale though buy and build strategies.

“Aesica is founded on over 30 years of pharmaceutical manufacturing expertise. Most recently the three recent acquisitions of manufacturing sites in Germany and Italy demonstrate our commitment to enhancing Aesica’s service offering to the global pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries. The support from Silverfleet Capital will prove invaluable as we continue to expand into new markets, evolve and grow.”

Aesica this year doubled in size after buying two German manufacturing plants and one Italian plant from Belgian biopharma firm UCB.

And it has said it has mapped out an “aggressive acquisition strategy” to expand into the Far East and the United States as well as further European acquisitions.

The recent deal increased staff numbers from 700 to 1,300. In the UK it employs 140 people at a manufacturing and research plant in Cramlington and around 25 staff at its Newcastle headquarters, which is expected to increase.

Aesica recently ranked third in the Sunday Times Deloitte Buyout Track 100 for 2011, having grown every year for the past three years.

Healthcare is one of Silverfleet Capital’s core sectors. During the past 12 months the firm has realised big returns from selling Sterigenics International and European Dental Partners (EDP), two international healthcare businesses in its portfolio.

Adrian Yurkwich, the partner at Silverfleet with responsibility for healthcare who led the transaction, will join the board as a non-executive director.

He said: “Global outsourcing of pharmaceutical manufacturing was worth $44bn (£28bn) in 2010 and is forecasted to grow at circa 7% per annum for the foreseeable future.

“Aesica is in a strong position to benefit from that growth through further expanding its international footprint in Europe, the US and Asia and by increasing the number of strategic partners it works with.”

”Aesica has an excellent management team who have achieved very impressive growth and we look forward to working in partnership with them.”

Legal advice for Aesica came from Newcastle firm Ward Hadaway and corporate finance advice was provided by PwC.


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