Shire insists AbbVie’s offer 'undervalues' company as shares slide

The ADHD drugmaker has already rejected three bids from Abbvie

Shares in Shire fell almost 2 per cent in early London trading as the pharmaceutical giant stepped up its defence against a £27 billion takeover from United States rival AbbVie.

The ADHD drugmaker, which shifted its headquarters to Dublin in 2008 to take advantage of Ireland’s low corporate tax rate, has already rejected three bids from Abbvie, the last one valuing it at £46.26 a share.

But in a call to investors and City analysts this afternoon, Shire followed AstraZeneca’s lead by giving long-range sales forecasts for its drugs in a bid to convince shareholders that AbbVie’s offer undervalues the business.

Shire’s chairman Susan Kilsby and chief executive Flemming Ornskov are claiming the drugmaker will more than double annual revenues to $10 billion (£5.9 billion) by 2020 as an independent business.

This would be helped by Vyvanse, the ADHD treatment which brought in almost 25 per cent of Shire’s $4.8 billion revenues last year and is being tested to help patients addicted to binge-eating.

The executives also highlighted the risks associated with AbbVie’s plan to cut its corporate tax bill by redomiciling in Britain. The ambition has sparked growing political concerns.

Pharma analysts at Jefferies predict Shire investors would back a deal priced at about £55 a share. Shares in Shire, which hit an all-time high on Friday, fell 60p to 4311p.