Chinese Interest in J&J Diabetes Franchise?

22.01.2018 -

Chinese companies are said to be taking great interest in the diabetes care business Johnson & Johnson may put up for sale. The news agency Reuters, citing “five people with direct knowledge” of the matter, estimated that a sale could fetch up to $4 billion.

The world’s largest healthcare company announced in January 2017 it was evaluating options for its diabetes care companies, specifically LifeScan Inc, Animas Corp and Calibra Medical, with one of the options being a sale.

Reuters’ sources said the US health giant has hired investment bank Goldman Sachs to handle the transaction, whereby it is not yet clear if potential Chinese buyers are interested in the whole franchise or one or more of the member companies. J&J has declined to comment.

Seen among potential bidders is a consortium being formed by Shenzhen-listed Sinocare, which develops and manufactures blood sugar monitoring systems, and China Jianyin Investment Ltd (JIC), a unit of sovereign wealth fund China Investment Corp (CIC).

Sinocare, which has a market capitalization of about $1.8 billion, joined Citic Securities in 2015 to bid for the Bayer diabetes devices business that was eventually sold to Japan’s Panasonic Healthcare Holdings. JIC, wholly owned by CIC, mainly invests in the industrial manufacturing, consumption and information technology sectors, according to its website.

Reuters noted that CIC’s vice-chairman and president, Tu Guangshao, said at a panel discussion during the Asian Financial Forum in Hong Kong last week that the company plans to  look for more investment opportunities in the healthcare industry.

According to reports, the market for diabetes care in China is expected to grow rapidly, with the World Health Organization estimating that nearly one in three of the world’s diabetes sufferers lives in the People’s Republic.

Asia altogether is believed to account for more than 60% of global diabetes cases, due to increasing levels of wealth, unhealthy diets and more sedentary lifestyles.

The world market right for diabetes care is estimated at close to $50 billion. In China, analysts estimate that its value could triple to around $20 billion by 2025.