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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Swiss Drug Company Eyes Russian Market

MOSCOW — Unlisted Swiss drug maker Nycomed 
hopes that the recent upturn in capital markets will continue, paving the way for a hoped-for initial public offering (IPO) and an expansion into the Russian pharmaceutical market, Chief Executive Hakan Bjorklund said on Tuesday.

Privately owned Nycomed has previously said it is aiming for a stock market listing, which could be one of the pharmaceutical sector's biggest IPOs in years.

"It is not going to be this year. Will it be next year? Maybe. Will it be 2011? I don't know. The market is looking much better so that's something that is clearly an advantage," Bjorklund said in an interview. "If you had asked me this question six months ago, I would have said I have no idea because the market is not stable enough. But the market is improving and if it continues to improve we will see."

Nycomed is majority-owned by four private equity firms, led by Nordic Capital with a 41 percent stake. The other three are Credit Suisse's DLJ Merchant Banking, Coller International Partners and Avista.

The company on Tuesday announced plans to invest up to 75 million euros ($110 million) in 2010 to 2014 in the construction of a production plant in Russia.

"This market is growing dramatically," Bjorklund said. 
"Our growth has been year on year 20 to 25 percent in volume [terms] and we expect that to continue for the simple reason that, if you look at pharmaceutical consumption in Russia, it's still at low level.

"And as the economy grows, the use of modern medicines will also grow. Even if it grows 10 to 15 percent, it is still much better than in the West."

He said the economic crisis had created opportunities in sales and marketing as some of Nycomed's peers have reduced their work force while it has expanded.

"I always believe that a crisis like this is an opportunity for the one who dares to actually take market share and grow."

In the first half of 2009, Russia and other markets of the Commonwealth of Independent States contributed 158.3 million euros to Nycomed's total 1.6 billion euro sales.