Temasek preparing for $1b stake sale of Zuellig Pharma

A woman passes a logo of state investor Temasek Holdings at their office in Singapore July 8, 2014. REUTERS/Edgar Su

Temasek Holdings Pte is exploring a sale of its stake in Asian drug distributor Zuellig Pharma, people familiar with the matter said.

The Singapore state investment firm has been speaking with advisers about a potential sale of its 20 percent stake in Zuellig Pharma, which commands vast pharmaceutical distribution networks in about a dozen Asian markets, according to the people. Temasek may seek around $1 billion for its holding in the Singapore-based company, the people said, asking not to be identified because the discussions are private.

The stake could draw interest from strategic buyers including Mitsui & Co., the Japanese trading house that’s been expanding its health care operations, as well as private equity firms, the people said.

Zuellig Group was founded in 1922 by businessman Frederick Zuellig, who moved to Manila from Switzerland. The family trading house built out a number of different businesses and now has interests ranging from health care and pharmaceuticals to insurance and property, according to its website. Zuellig Pharma had $10 billion in sales in 2015 generated by its 10,000 employees.

Temasek first invested in Zuellig Pharma in 2007. Deliberations are at an early stage, and there’s no certainty they will lead to a transaction, the people said. Representatives for Temasek and Mitsui declined to comment, while a representative for Zuellig Pharma said she couldn’t immediately comment.

The death of family patriarch Stephen Zuellig in January fueled speculation that his group could be put on the block. Stefan Butz, chief executive officer of Swiss rival DKSH Holding AG, said in July he would be interested in starting talks if Zuellig Pharma officially came up for sale.

“It’s one of our key competitors, because they are particularly strong in the Philippines and in Indonesia and even the other markets,” Butz said in response to an analyst question on an earnings conference call. “We assume that they are dealing with the recent changes and making up their minds how they want to take the company forward.”

A representative for DKSH declined to comment.

Also read:

Temasek, Warburg, CDPQ in race for TPG’s Asia Healthcare stake

Singapore: Temasek trims stake in telecom operator StarHub

Bloomberg

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In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

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  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
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