Kaneka takes control of AB-Biotics after concluding takeover bid

By Will Chu

- Last updated on GMT

AB-Biotics is now in the ownership of Kaneka Europe after the Japanese company confirms the completion of a takeover bid as the majority stakeholder of the Spanish probiotic specialists.

In a statement, Kaneka now hold 66.33% of AB-Biotics in a deal that sees the firm pay out €16.7m for 3,344,849 shares (26.57%) adding to the 39.8% of capital it already owns.

“We accept that it has had a good life cycle and that this is a business development which has added value for the shareholder,”​ said AB-Biotics’ founders Miquel Angel Bonachera and Sergi Audivert in response to Kaneka’s plans to withdraw the company from the Alternative Equity Market.

“The company has raised a little less than €15m in its various funding rounds and its value has reached €63m.

“We now join a multinational group with a turnover of €4bn, 10,000 employees and access to investment resources we could not get from the Alternative Equity Market.”

Kaneka main shareholder

AB Biotics
The founders, executive directors and key shareholders of AB-Biotics, Miquel Angel Bonachera and Sergi Audivert. ©AB-Biotics

The deal is the latest in Kaneka’s evolving interest in AB-Biotics. In March 2018, it became its main shareholder after acquiring 26.86% of the capital. By June this year, the Japanese company held 39.8% of the capital.

This latest purchase means that Kaneka now own the remaining 60.24% of AB-Biotics’ share capital, a total of 7,583,025 shares at €5 per share, valuing this capital at €37.9m and €62.9m for AB-Biotics’ total company capital.

Further details of the deal sees Bonachera and Audivert, each accept a bid for 2.92% of the share capital (5.84% of the company between them).

Each of the AB-Biotics’ founders previously owned 8.92% of the capital, now retaining 12% between them post-takeover.

Founded in 2004, AB-Biotics divides its activities into the two main business areas of probiotics and precision medicine.

Its collection of bacterial strains contains more than 550 different wild-type strains that are used to address Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), reduce LDL- cholesterol and triglyceride levels and infant colic.

​In completing the deal, Kaneka now aims to “develop and consolidate AB-Biotics within the Kaneka group through deep-rooted links between the two companies, and to foster synergies through more efficient internal policies”.

Spanish-Japanese agreements

Kaneka’s intentions is the latest in a long line of deals struck between the two countries involving health and nutrition firms.

Around this time last year, Takeda looked to build on its microbiome therapies for coeliac and advanced liver diseases by purchasing the remaining shares of Belgium-based biopharmaceutical firm TiGenix for approximately €520m or €1.78 per share.

Later in 2018, Tokyo-based Yokogawa Electric Corporation sanctioned a €10m investment in Spanish microalgae firm AlgaEnergy, to expand its biostimulant product sales worldwide and venture into the food and cosmetics sector.

Meanwhile, Japanese investment fund Cell Innovation Partners, made a €1m investment in Histocell, a Bilbao-based company that develops cell therapy products for the treatment of Acute Spinal Cord Injury and Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome.

The investment forms part of a €3m financing round that will be used to progress the development of Histocell’s pipeline products.

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