21 August 2015
Brought to you by Investec Switzerland.
Novartis AG (NOVN VX) – Novartis to buy rights to Glaxo MS drug for up to $1 Billion
Novartis AG agreed to buy the rights to an experimental drug from GlaxoSmithKline Plc for as much as $1 billion, bolstering the Swiss company’s lineup of treatments for multiple sclerosis. Novartis will pay $300 million upfront to Glaxo for ofatumumab, followed by another $200 million after the start of late-stage clinical trials, the Basel, Switzerland-based company said in a statement on Friday. Novartis may pay as much as another $534 million if certain goals are met during the drug’s development, according to the statement. The drug would compete with Roche Holding AG’s experimental medicine ocrelizumab, which succeeded in reducing the relapses and disability progression associated with multiple sclerosis in two late-stage studies announced in June. Novartis already has an MS treatment called Gilenya, which was the company’s second- biggest seller last year, with sales of $2.5 billion. By Phil Serafino and Simeon Bennett (Bloomberg)
Lindt & Spruengli AG (LISN SW) – Lindt to open six stores in Brazil by year-end, CEO Tanner says
Lindt & Spruengli AG plans to open six additional stores in Brazil by the end of the year as the world’s biggest maker of premium chocolate prepares for an influx of tourists to the 2016 Olympics. The Kilchberg, Switzerland-based company has already started nine Brazilian shops since the beginning of the year, Chief Executive Officer Ernst Tanner said in an interview Tuesday. Two of those were in Rio de Janeiro, the scene of some of the protests that have seen more than half a million people nationwide call for the resignation or impeachment of President Dilma Rousseff. Still, the Olympic Games should pull in potential chocolate lovers from around the world, Tanner said. “We’ll be ready when the Olympics start, which should attract millions of tourists that will hopefully also buy Swiss chocolate,” he said, adding it’s too early to predict sales during the Olympics. Brazil, Latin America’s biggest economy, is forecast to contract 2.01 percent this year and 0.15 percent in 2016, a central bank survey showed on Monday. By Corinne Gretler (Bloomberg)
Syngenta AG (SYNN VX) – Syngenta says it will find new owner for flower seeds unit
Syngenta AG, the agrochemical maker that’s rebuffed a takeover approach from Monsanto Co., plans to sell a niche flower-seeds business as suppliers of products for the home-gardening market look to consolidate. Syngenta Flowers is part of the Lawn and Garden unit, which generated 4.6 percent of Syngenta’s $15.1 billion in 2014 sales, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The Swiss company is looking to focus its Lawn and Garden unit on high-margin products and said it will continue to invest in areas such as treatments for golf courses and industrial pest management. While the lawn market has limited overlap with Syngenta’s main client base, it often uses the same technology, allowing for attractive margins. The flower-seeds unit, which has about 2,500 employees depending on the time of year, likely has the least product overlap.“Flowers is a premium consumer-focused business with a competitive footprint in both developed and emerging markets,” spokeswoman Sydne Saccone said. “We are convinced that divestment would allow Flowers to realize its full potential in the global gardening market.” By Alice Baghdjian (Bloomberg)
Lafarge Holcim (LHN VX) – Birla Corp. to acquire two Lafarge India cement businesses
Leonteq AG, the second-best performer in Switzerland’s SPI Index since its 2012 listing, is seeking to triple the number of users for its derivatives software after signing up the company’s first Asian client last year. The developer of a platform banks and insurers can use to build, price and trade derivatives wants to reach 30 partnerships in the next three to five years, Chief Executive Officer and co-founder Jan Schoch said in an interview at the company’s headquarters in Zurich this week. “It’s possible that we announce another partner from Asia or Europe this year,´´ said the former Lehman Brothers banker. That would add to five new clients that Leonteq reported at end of July, bringing the number of companies that use its technology to 10. Leonteq went public as a spinoff of EFG International AG in October 2012, starting as an issuer of structured notes. Since then, it’s shifted gears, focusing more on selling software for designing and issuing structured products, including tools that generate legal documents and trading prices for the debt. It’s still the fifth-most active issuer of certificates on Zurich’s exchange. By Jan-Henrik Förster, Jan Schwalbe and Yakob Peterseil (Bloomberg).