US supplier in £25m bid for Profile

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The Independent Online

Profile therapeutics, the Bognor Regis-based developer of inhalers and nebulisers, is being taken over by one of its suppliers in a £25m cash deal.

Profile therapeutics, the Bognor Regis-based developer of inhalers and nebulisers, is being taken over by one of its suppliers in a £25m cash deal.

Respironics, a Nasdaq-listed maker of breathing aids and monitoring equipment, is paying 50.9p per Profile share to acquire the UK group.

Profile's shares were first issued at 170p on flotation in March 2000, and fell as low as 24.5p as its products were delayed and the biotech sector fell from favour. The takeover price is 13 per cent above its level the day before Profile announced it was in takeover talks, two months ago.

More than 40 per cent of Profile's turnover comes from selling Respironics products. John Miclot, who took over as president and chief executive of the US company at the end of last year, told Profile it would set up its own distribution team in the UK, wiping out a big chunk of Profile's cash flows, if it did not agree to be taken over.

Profile admitted yesterday that it had already put itself up for sale last year, appointing PricewaterhouseCoopers to search for potential bidders. It also issued a profits warning yesterday, due to a delayed product launch in the US.

The board is recommending the Respironics deal, and shareholders representing two-thirds of the investor base have agreed to accept the offer.

Respironics said it was committed to developing Profile's most advanced proprietary product, a novel drug inhaler that measures how much the user can inhale in each normal breath, and then releases the right dose. This technology had formed the basis of Profile's pitch to investors when it raised £23m at the time of its flotation.

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