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Pharmaceuticals Firm Zentiva Plans IPO on Prague Stock Exchange

Czech pharmaceuticals firm Zentiva is planning an initial public offering (IPO) on the Prague Stock Exchange and hopes to raise USD 100 mln (CZK 2.7 bn), the firm’s CEO Jiri Michal told journalists Thursday.

This would mark the first IPO on the Czech market to date.

Michal declined to specify the date of the issue, the number of shares to be placed on the market, or any additional information.

The firm also wants to place global depository certificates on the London Stock Exchange.

Merrill Lynch will serve as the global coordinator and manager of the IPO, while in the Czech Republic, the issue will be handled by the Wood and Company brokerage.

The firm plans to use the funds raised by the public offering in part to pay back a loan it received from ING Bank, Citibank, Komercni banka and Ceska sporitelna for its acquisition of the Slovak pharmaceutical firm Slovakofarma last year.

Zentiva, which was established through the merger of the Czech pharmaceuticals firm Leciva and Slovakofarma, is the Czech Republic’s leading producer of medicines, controlling some 40 % of the market in 2003.

Zentiva, which specializes in generics, is majority owned by the US private equity firm Warburg Pincus. The firm posted an operating profit of CZK 2.1 bn in 2003 on sales of CZK 9.6 bn.

(Interfax 21.v.04)

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