Pharmacia shares tumble

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The Independent Online
SHARES IN Pharmacia & Upjohn, the Swedish-US drug group, tumbled 6 per cent yesterday after the Stockholm government announced the sale of its stake in the group.

Dealers said that the fall in the price was sparked by fears that the disposal would flood the market with P&U's shares. The long-awaited disposal of the state's 7 per cent holding, valued at around $2bn, marks the final privatisation of P&U, formed in 1995 from the merger of Sweden's Pharmacia and Upjohn of the US.

Lars Rekke, the Swedish trade and industry secretary, said that it was "the appropriate time" to sell the shares. The stock has risen 20 per cent over the past six months.