DSM finishes sale of pharma assets to US firm

By Hank Schultz

- Last updated on GMT

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DSM finishes sale of pharma assets to US firm
DSM has completed a major milestone in its restructuring into a smaller, more profitable and more focused company as it finalized the sale of its pharmaceutical manufacturing assets to US-based Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc.

DSM now has about 66% of its assets in human and animal nutrition, while still retaining 34% of its activities in materials. The sale of its stake in Patheon to Massachusetts-based Thermo Fisher completes a move that began in 2014, when the company merged its pharmaceutical operations into Patheon in a deal that was valued at about $2.3 billion at the time. In 2010 the company had significant assets in bulk chemicals and those are gone now, too.

DSM looks to make a tidy profit on the transaction. Thermo Fisher has acquired all the shares of Patheon held by DSM for $35.00 per ordinary share in cash, resulting in a transaction payment to DSM of approximately $1.7 billion in cash. After a bit of currency hedging and subtracting the book value of DSM’s stake, the company looks to report a gain on the transaction of $1.4 billion in its third quarter of 2017.

"We're pleased to complete our acquisition of Patheon and look forward to the significant value this transaction will create for our customers and our shareholders," ​said Marc N. Casper, president and chief executive officer of Thermo Fisher Scientific. "By adding Patheon's highly complementary CDMO capabilities to our leading clinical trials services and bioproduction technologies, we will be an even stronger partner for our pharmaceutical and biotech customers.

4,000 jobs shed in two years

In addition to shedding its holdings in pharmaceuticals, DSM has in recent years been shedding jobs as well. A major restructuring in 2015 saw the loss of more than 1,000 jobs. At that time the company was said to employ about 25,000 people. According to the company’s latest corporate presentation, it now employs about 21,000.

In the past, when DSM has had a big wad of cash in the bank, the company went on a buying spree, but the pace has slackened in recent years as the company went through its restructuring and absorbed the acquisitions it did make, such as premix supplier Fortitech. When asked by a analyst during an earnings call how the company planned to employ the Patheon windfall, CEO Feike Sibjesma said that, we never exclude share buybacks or other returns to shareholders, but we prefer to invest on our own growth.

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