Medeva buys US maker of inhalers

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MEDEVA, the fast-growing pharmaceuticals company, yesterday hit the acquisition trail again with the dollars 54m ( pounds 31.6m) purchase of Armstrong Pharmaceuticals, a specialist in the manufacture of asthma inhalers, writes Heather Connon.

Armstrong aims to be one of the first companies to supply generic anti-asthma inhalers in competition with Glaxo's Ventolin. Armstrong hopes to get approval for its product within 12 to 15 months, giving it access to a market worth about dollars 400m a year. Armstrong is also planning to lodge applications with the FDA for a number of other respiratory products, which have a current sales value of dollars 425m.

In the year to last September, Armstrong made dollars 1.8m pre-tax profit on sales of dollars 13.9m and had net assets of dollars 5m. Medeva is paying for the deal by issuing about 16.2 million of its shares, which closed yesterday down 2p at 193p.

Medeva also announced the sale of Evans-Kerrfoot, its UK unbranded generic business, to Norton Healthcare, part of the US Ivax Corporation, for pounds 11.5m. Norton is also paying pounds 12m for the freehold manufacturing site at Horsham.