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Romania hires local firm Bostina to advise on Antibiotice sale

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Romania hired local law firm Bostina & Asociatii to advise it on the sale of Antibiotice Iasi SA, the country's last state-controlled drugmaker, after the government received letters of interest for as many as 22 potential bidders.

Bostina beat two other Romanian legal advisers competing for the contract, the state asset sales agency AVAS said in an e-mailed statement today. The government aims to sell its 53% stake in Antibiotice, which makes vitamin B12 and the antibiotic nystatin, next year. Seven drugmakers have expressed interest in Antibiotice, which ranks No. 3 in Romania, as the country prepares to join the European Union in January. Generic drug sales in Romania probably will double to €800 million ($1 billion) by 2009, according to analysts at Nomura Code in London. The other potential bidders are pharmaceutical distributors and investment funds, an official in charge of the sale said last month. The hiring of a consultant marks a change in plans. The government had originally intended to sell the stake by the end of the Q1 of next year without an adviser. The change may delay the sale beyond March, 2007, Adrian Ciucur, head of AVAS's Privatization Division, said November 15. Antibiotice shares fell 1.2% on the Bucharest Stock Exchange at 10:25 a.m. local time. They have gained more than 70% in a year in anticipation of the sale of the government's stake. (Bloomberg)

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