Sunday, December 23, 2007

Romania sets initial price on drugmaker sale

BUCHAREST, Dec 20 (Reuters) - Romania's government set a starting price to sell the country's last remaining state-owned drug maker Antibiotice ATBE.BX at 136 million euros ($195.4 million), privatisation agency AVAS said on Thursday.

The government plans to sell its 53 percent stake in the firm through an open bidding procedure in an effort to speed up the privatisation process.

"The advisers have proposed a price of 130 million euros ... we decided a 5 percent increase, so the starting price will be 136 million euros (for the stake), or 2 lei per share," Teodor Atanasiu, head of AVAS told a news conference.

The auction will take place on March 18, 2008.

European Union newcomer Romania received 22 non-binding letters of interest last year for Antibiotice, which has ambitious growth plans, including the addition of 40 new products to its portfolio in five years.

The company posted a 22 percent annual rise in net profit to 23.2 million lei ($9.7 million) in the first nine months and a 15 percent increase in turnover to 150.4 million lei.

Antibiotice shares closed 0.6 percent down at 1.79 lei on Thursday. (Reporting by Radu Marinas; Editing by David Holmes)

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