Lilly eyes emerging markets in Novartis animal-health deal

Tue Apr 22, 2014 11:02am EDT
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By Gus Trompiz

PARIS (Reuters) - The purchase of Novartis' NOVN.VX animal-health business will strengthen Eli Lilly's (LLY.N: Quote) hand in emerging markets, tapping into growing demand there for protein-rich diets and household treatments for pets, a senior executive at the U.S. group said.

As part of a multi-billion dollar revamp announced earlier on Tuesday, Swiss drugmaker Novartis said it would sell its animal-health arm to Lilly for about $5.4 billion, while also swapping assets with GlaxoSmithKline (GSK.L: Quote).

Lilly said the deal would turn its Elanco unit from the world's No. 4 animal-health group by revenue to the global No. 2 in a sector that supplies medicines, vaccines and feed additives for farm and domestic animals. The sector's biggest firm is Zoetis (ZTS.N: Quote), spun off by Pfizer (PFE.N: Quote) last year.

"This deal really allows us to get a significant increase in our footprint in emerging markets and in our protein business on the food animal side this will be very important for us," Jeff Simmons, Eli Lilly's senior vice president and president of Elanco, told Reuters.

Elanco's products include treatments such as its Elector PSP to kill flies and beetles in cattle sheds, and the Rumensin feed supplement to boost productivity of dairy and beef cows.

It is now targeting the dairy, fish and egg sectors, seeing them as products emerging market consumers turn to for protein before shifting towards meat, Simmons said.

"I believe these emerging markets and these emerging diets - eggs, fish, dairy - are key."

Novartis' assets would bring Elanco into the fish farm sector for the first time, after it expanded its presence in eggs earlier this year through the acquisition of Germany's Lohmann Animal Health, Simmons said.   Continued...

A Novartis logo is pictured on its headquarters building in Mumbai February 6, 2014. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui