View from City Road: Fisons running out of puff

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The Independent Online
Patrick Egan has slashed away at Fisons until all that is left is a high-quality drugs and scientific instruments business. Or so he says. In fact he has slashed away at the dross and uncovered very little of any worth at all.

Putting scientific instruments to one side - sadly, the best place for them - Fisons is left with little more than a few relatively old asthma drugs, with profit margins half the industry average, and a leadership expertise in inhalers.

Admittedly asthma is a growing problem. Exploited cannily, the drugs could be more profitable than they are. But others are catching up fast with new asthma products, and Fisons' expertise looks less unique by the day.

Mr Egan complains that the City is undervaluing Fisons. But the fact that he cannot find anyone suitable to take on the role of chief executive suggests his industry peers agree.