Warner Chilcott to refloat on Nasdaq

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Warner Chilcott, the drug company taken private from the London stock market in 2004, is to refloat on Nasdaq.

The company's private equity backers said yesterday they could sell up to $1bn (£540m) of shares in an IPO, 18 months after buying the business for £1.6bn. A consortium of DLJ, JP Morgan Partners, Bain Capital and Thomas H Lee won a fierce bidding battle for the group.

All those involved in the bidding war expected to turn a tidy profit by re-listing the business in the US, where valuations put on pharmaceuticals companies are traditionally higher.

Details of the size of the Nasdaq stock offering and the value that the float will put on Warner Chilcott are still to be decided.

The company, which until 2004 was known as Galen, switched its operational headquarters from its native Northern Ireland to the US to reflect the location of most of its sales and the nationality of its chief executive, Roger Boissonneault, who was paid $30m last year as part of a financial restructuring and to keep him at the company for the flotation because of likely resistance from its shareholders.

Before being taken private, it had considered moving its listing to the US in the hope of enjoying an improved valuation but ruled out the idea.

The company had revenues of $515m in 2005 but acquisitions and one-off write-downs left it with a loss of $557m.

Galen acquired Warner Chilcott of the US in 2000, which brought in Mr Boissonneault as the company's chief executive.