DUBAI (Reuters) - French drugmaker Sanofi (SASY.PA) is leading an investor group buying a 66 percent stake in the Globalpharma unit of Dubai Investments (DINV.DU), the Gulf-based diversified investment group said on Thursday.
Under the agreement, Globalpharma will be managed as a Sanofi company and will become the platform to manufacture and promote its generic drugs portfolio in the Middle East.
No purchase price was given in the bourse filing in Dubai, but Dubai Investments - which will retain the remaining 34 percent of the firm - said the deal had generated an internal rate of return of 26 percent over a ten-year period.
"We believe that the new partnership being forged with Sanofi will propel Globalpharma to the next level of its growth," said Khalid bin Kalban, chief executive of Dubai Investments.
Kalban added the penetration of generic drug manufacturing had traditionally been low in the Middle East but was now gradually increasing towards European levels, while the wider pharmaceutical sector was expected to experience strong growth in coming years due to favourable demographics and higher per capita income.
Globalpharma manufactures pharmaceutical products including antibiotics, painkillers, cardiovascular drugs and food supplements and is registered in more than 14 countries across the Middle East and neighbouring markets, the statement said.
News of the divestment helped Dubai Investments' share price recover ground lost earlier in the session, though it was still 2 percent lower at 0925 GMT against a wider market (.DFMGI) decline of 0.4 percent. Sanofi was trading flat.
(Reporting by David French; Editing by Andrew Torchia and Mark Potter)