French Barrier: Indian Cos Face French Barrier For Generic Deal | India Business News

NEW DELHI: You can call it a Swadeshi spirit in French style. The French government is planning to block the sale of generic drugs firm Biogaran to potential foreign bidders, which include two Indian pharma companies, according to French media reports.
Torrent Pharmaceuticals and Aurobindo Pharma have emerged as potential bidders, along with other entities, including a foreign PE firm, industry sources told TOI.The French industry minister Roland Lescure has been pretty vocal recently, reports say, about his government’s decision to block the sale, indicating a thorough examination of all bids. The French government has cited reasons, including safeguarding the pharma company’s critical supply chain as well as national interest. Emails sent by TOI to Torrent and Aurobindo went unanswered.

Indian cos face French barrier for generic deal

Biogaran, founded in 1996 with primarily generic drugs, has added biosimilars and OTC medicines and markets its drugs in Africa, Europe and Latin America, according to its website.
Further, Biogaran is one of the first companies to have invested in the development of biosimilar drugs and launched its first biosimilar drug in February 2015. Its parent Servier is focusing on innovative treatment, including oncology, and has not made a final decision on the sale, amid govt scrutiny, media reports say. Servier Group’s consolidated revenue for 2022-23 (year ending September 30, 2023) increased by 9.2% to 5.3 billion euro compared to 2021-2022.
The company was put on the block at the end of 2023. No commercial offer has been made, while Servier has not officially confirmed the information as yet, according to French media. Pharmaceuticals are considered of strategic importance in France, while the issue of Europe’s pharmaceutical sovereignty has been a subject of raging debate, particularly in the wake of the Covid crisis and recent drug shortages.
This incident however does not sound entirely new for India. In the past, Indian govt has blocked hostile takeovers by UK-based NRI businessman Swaraj Paul for Escorts and DCM Shriram and global tobacco maker BAT’s bid for ITC.
In 2020, govt tweaked FDI policy mandating that all investments from neighbouring countries, including China, would now require Centre’s approval. This effectively closed the “automatic route” for these nations, including blocking potential investments from China. An increasing number of foreign firms and individuals had begun to take this route for investing.

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