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Romania calls for Antibiotice expressions of interest

Companies interested in buying Antibiotice SA, the last drugmaker Romania has for sale, should submit letters of interest by November 1, the country's asset-selling agency said. The Romanian government seeks to sell its 53% stake in Antibiotice, the country's third-largest drugmaker, to a company or a group led by a company or a financial investor, the government agency said yesterday in an e-mailed statement. „Conditions to participate aren't restrictive, they refer to a minimum of experience in pharmaceuticals,” it said. Antibiotice, a generic-drug maker based in the eastern city of Iasi, represents a last chance for companies to enter the Romanian medicine market without making a new investment. Generic-drug sales in Romania are expected to double to nearly €800 million ($1 billion) by 2009, according to an estimate by Nomura Code in London. The government's asset-sales agency didn't say exactly when it plans to sell Antibiotice, which it said has a market value of about €185 million.

The company makes a quarter of the world's nystatin antibiotic and 10% of the world's B-12 vitamin pills, the agency said. Antibiotice employees want to buy 10% of the stake that's being sold by the government for a lower „preferential price” of 0.1 Romanian lei per share, newswire Mediafax reported yesterday, citing a written statement by the company's workers association. The company's general manager Ioan Nani said Romania should seek more than the company's current market value just in the sale of the 53% stake, newspaper Ziarul Financiar reported September 22. Antibiotice shares rose 2.7% to 1.5 lei at the end of trading in Bucharest yesterday. (Bloomberg)