Novasep Divests Swiss Fine Chemicals Producer Rohner AG

March 16, 2006
Patricia Van Arnum

Patricia Van Arnum was executive editor of Pharmaceutical Technology.

ePT--the Electronic Newsletter of Pharmaceutical Technology

Novasep Divests Swiss Fine Chemicals Producer Rohner AG

Group Novasep SAS (Pompey, France, www.novasep.com) has sold its Swiss fine-chemicals business Rohner AG to Arques Industries AG, a private equity firm based in Stamberg, Germany.

Novasep acquired Rohner in 2004 to build its position in custom manufacturing to complement its separations business.

Novasep announced in December that it planned to divest Rohner, which has faced financial difficulties since 2003 when it lost a major customer. It was not expected to break even in 2006 or 2007, said Novasep in December when it first announced its divestiture plans. 

Arques will pursue the restructuring of Rohner’s Pratteln, Switzerland manufacturing site and will develop the pharmaceutical and fine chemicals business.

Group Novasep will continue to concentrate on custom synthesis. The company operates two business units: Novasep Synthesis, its custom manufacturing arm, and Novasep Process, its separations and purification business.

Rohner became part of Group Novasep as part of a larger acquisition in 2004 by Rockwood Holdings Inc. (Princeton, NJ, www.rockwoodspecialties.com), the parent company of Group Novasep. That deal included the acquisition of four business of Dynamit Nobel: three specialty chemical businesses- Sachtleben Chemie GmbH, Chemetall GmbH, and CeramTec AG-and DNES Custom Synthesis, which included Rohner, Dynamit Nobel Special Chemistry, and Finorga. Following that acquisition, Rockwood integrated those custom-manufacturing businesses into its Group Novasep subsidiary.

The assets of Dynamit Nobel and Finorga, along with Seripharm, which provides early-stage manufacturing for high-potency actives, give Novasep five manufacturing sites for active pharmaceutical ingredients and pharmaceutical intermediates.

Dynamit Nobel GmbH ES, one of the affiliates of Novasep, is providing an azide intermediate to Roche (Basel, Switzerland, www.roche.com) for the production of Roche's influenza treatment "Tamiflu" (oseltamivir).

Early this month, Novasep launched an early-stage pharmaceutical service offering synthesis and purification of milligram and kilogram quantities. The service is provided by a team of 14 chemists in two laboratories in Le Mans and Lyon, France

Separately, Thierry Favreau has been appointed president of Novasep Process. He has held management positions with Baxter, Becton Dickinson, and Sanofi-Synthelabo and was CEO of Stedim Group before joining Novasep.

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