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Czech PPF raises stake in drug maker Zentiva

  Czech investment holding company PPF Group raised its stake in generic drug maker Zentiva as it awaits the conclusion of a $1.7 billion takeover bid by France’s Sanofi-Aventis, it said on Thursday.

 

PPF, controlled by tycoon Petr Kellner, increased the percentage of voting rights it controls to 24.26% from 21.59%, it said in a filing with the Dutch market regulator. The stake is controlled jointly with Italian insurer Generali. A PPF spokesman declined to comment further.

Zentiva is subject of a 1,150 koruna per share takeover bid from its largest shareholder Sanofi-Aventis, which has a 24.9% stake. The bid values the Czech company at 43.86 billion koruna.

PPF launched a 950 koruna per share takeover bid for Zentiva in May when it held 19.2% in the company but withdrew it after Sanofi counterbid 1,050 koruna. Belviport Trading Ltd, a closely held firm whose owners remain anonymous, declared its shareholding in Zentiva in September, later raising its stake to just above 10%.

Czech media reported Belviport belonged to billionaire Pavel Tykac who may have joint plans with PPF’s Kellner. PPF denied acting in concert with Belviport. (Reuters)