Celltech directors to share £8m after takeover by UCB

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The Independent Online

The directors of Celltech will share a payout of £8m as a result of the biotech group's takeover by UCB of Belgium.

The directors of Celltech will share a payout of £8m as a result of the biotech group's takeover by UCB of Belgium.

Goran Ando, who is set to become deputy chief executive of the Belgian pharmaceuticals and chemicals group, will be handed a cheque for £2.8m when the completion of the deal triggers the exercise of his share options. Mr Ando joined Celltech as chief executive from Pfizer just over a year ago.

The chairman, Peter Fellner, who built up the modern Celltech through a string of acquisitions since his arrival in 1990, walks away with £2.4m. And Peter Allen, the finance director, who is staying on to oversee the integration of the two companies, receives just under £2m from the sale of his shares and automatic vesting of share options.

Details of the financial interests of the Celltech board were disclosed yesterday in UCB's offer document accompanying the £1.53bn agreed cash bid which was announced on Tuesday. The Belgian company decided to buy the whole of Celltech as well as licensing its most important drug, CDP870, as a treatment for rheumatoid arthritis. CDP870 could also be used to treat Crohn's disease - a bowel complaint - and psoriasis.

A Celltech spokesman defended the payouts, saying: "They have done well because the shareholders have done well." In particular, the share price of the company has risen from 286p when Mr Ando joined in April 2003, to a take-out price of 550p.

The stock was unmoved at 542p yesterday, reflecting analysts' view that the separate licensing of CDP870 to UCB would act as a "poison pill" to deter other bidders.

The takeover of Celltech robs this country of its oldest and biggest biotechnology company, which many had hoped would be a national champion for an industry struggling to emulate the success achieved by better-funded companies in the US.

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