Sanofi-Aventis To Buy Chinese Medicine Company

NEW YORK (AP) -- French drugmaker Sanofi-Aventis said Thursday it will pay $521 million to acquire BMP Sunstone, one of the largest consumer health care companies in China.

The purchase comes as Sanofi continues expanding its business in developing countries to offset declining revenues from once-blockbuster drugs marketed in the U.S. and Europe. Sanofi and other large drugmakers have had little success developing new drugs to replace older drugs that are losing patent protection.

BMP Sunstone reported sales of $147 million last year, primarily in consumer health care products. The company markets China's top-selling children's cold medicines Hao Wa Wa and Kang Fu Te, a line of women's health products. Sunstone also sells vitamins and supplements.

Paris-based Sanofi plans to acquire all outstanding shares of Sunstone for $10 each. Completion of the transaction is subject to approval by Sunstone stockholders.

"This transaction represents another strategic move for Sanofi-Aventis to reinforce its leadership position in China," said Sanofi Chief Executive Christopher Viehbacher in a company statement.

Sanofi-Aventis is the world's fourth-biggest pharmaceutical company, with 2009 revenue of about $35.5 billion.
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