Bayer May Consider Selling Animal Health

14.04.2016 -

Bayer is still committed to expanding its animal health business, but would consider selling it if suitable takeover targets remain elusive, newly named CEO Werner Baumann has told Germany-based financial media. The current strategy chief, who will move into the company’s top job on May 1, when current CEO Marijn Dekkers steps down, said acquisition opportunities have been scarce in the recent past as deals in animal health have taken a back seat to broader M&A activity in the health sector.

As regards animal health, Bayer now looks likely to slip down in the rankings following a series of missed moves in the sector. In the latest planned transaction, believed to be worth just short of €23 billion, France’s Sanofi and Germany’s Boehringer Ingelheim announced last December they were in exclusive talks about an asset swap.

Baumann would not be drawn on whether Bayer has a timetable to identify potential takeover targets for the veterinary drugs unit which had sales of almost €1.5 billion in 2015 and a core profit margin of over 20%. In any case, he said the German group is not under pressure to cut a deal, as the sector is still very attractive and Bayer has a strong portfolio.

Other major animal health players include Eli Lilly and Merck & Co of the US.                           

"We are not badly positioned,” Baumann told journalists. However, he said, if Bayer did decide to sell, an initial public offering similar to the September 2015 flotation of 31% of the former Bayer Material Science engineering plastics sub-group, Covestro, could be an option.