Reckitt buys US cough mixture firm

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The Independent Online

Reckitt Benckiser, the owner of brands such as Lemsip and Dettol, took its first steps into the US healthcare market yesterday, unveiling a £1.1bn all-cash deal to buy Adams Respiratory Therapeutics.

Adams, a Nasdaq-listed pharmaceutical company, markets two cough mixtures in the US, Mucinex and Delsym, which together generate annual sales of more than $322m (£157m).

Reckitt will pay $60 a share for the company, funded from existing cash reserves and credit facilities, representing a 37 per cent premium to Adams' closing price of $43.68 on Friday.

It is the Anglo-Dutch group's second major acquisition in the over-the-counter pharmaceuticals sector in the past two years. Last year, the group bought Boots Healthcare International, which includes the Strepsils and Disprin cold remedy brands, for £1.93bn.

"The growth potential of the business, the importance of gaining an entry in the US healthcare market, and the synergies available make Adams a very attractive addition to our portfolio," said Bart Becht, Reckitt's chief executive.

"We have already shown with the acquisition of Boots Healthcare International that we can generate shareholder value in consumer health care. We believe Adams represents another attractive opportunity for our shareholders."

Mr Becht said the deal would be immediately earnings enhancing, adding that the group expects to achieve "substantial" cost synergies from the acquisition, although there would be a one-off restructuring charge of $60m.

Mucinex is the US market leader in adult "expectorants", which help to clear phlegm from the chest, and accounts for most of Adams' sales.

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