European sites deal boosts drug firm's global ambitions

SUCCESSFUL Newcastle drugs firm Aesica Pharmaceuticals has completed the acquisition of three manufacturing sites from biopharma company, UCB using debt facilities sourced from the regional offices of Lloyds and HSBC.

SUCCESSFUL Newcastle drugs firm Aesica Pharmaceuticals has completed the acquisition of three manufacturing sites from biopharma company, UCB using debt facilities sourced from the regional offices of Lloyds and HSBC.

Aesica was formed in September 2004 through a management buyout of a former BASF site in Cramlington, backed by LDC, (Lloyds Development Capital) which took a significant stake in the business and has continued to provide strategic and financial support.

Last year Aesica announced it was buying three new plants in Germany and Italy from UCB and this has now been completed.

To fund the acquisitions of the facilities in Monheim, Zwickau and Pianezza, additional debt was provided by the acquisition finance team at Lloyds Bank Corporate Markets, which took the lead in a two bank club alongside HSBC Corporate Banking. This, and LDC’s continued backing, has given Aesica access to the capital required to support its ongoing programme of organic growth and complementary bolt-ons.

Steve Harrison, director at LDC, said: “Over the years, with our ongoing support, Aesica has become a key performer in our portfolio, increasing its footprint with site acquisitions, extending its capabilities and capacity, and adding new products and customers to its portfolio.

“The business is now a global supplier to pharmaceutical and drug companies and we look forward to continuing our relationship with the experienced management team.”

Simon Dixon, associate director in the acquisition finance team at Lloyds Bank Corporate Markets, said: “The acquisition of UCB’s sites creates Aesica’s first manufacturing presence outside the UK.

“The deal will help the company extend its global sales coverage and will boost the firm’s already strong reputation in the market.

“Aesica is a hugely experienced, well-invested customer with strong visibility of revenues, supported by key partnerships.

“This transaction is a crucial step in Aesica’s strategic development and a real success story for Yorkshire and the North East’s corporate finance community.

“The company’s European expansion and ongoing development ambitions mark it out as one of the North East’s leading corporates and highlight the potential for similar mid-market manufacturing businesses in the region to grow through private equity investment.”

Tony Leech, HSBC senior corporate banking manager, North East, said: “These are transformational acquisitions for Aesica, reshaping its footprint across Europe and broadening the opportunities open to the company.

“This latest strategic move highlights the quality of management behind this global business, and we look forward to supporting their enhanced European presence.”

Dr Robert Hardy, chief executive, Aesica, said: “The acquisition of the three UCB manufacturing sites is strategically crucial for our business as we extend and enhance our current offering and establish a presence in Europe.

“We believe Europe will be a key market for us in 2011 and to have secured such high profile sites as well as agreeing a long-term strategic partnership to supply UCB, is testament to our commitment to being recognised as a leader in the industry.

“By acquiring the sites in Europe we have not only almost doubled our workforce but we have gained new technological capability, which will further enhance and strengthen our unique service proposition.”

 
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