Novartis buys Austrian generic drugmaker in cash

Novartis buys Austrian generic drugmaker in cashGeneva - Swiss pharmaceutical group Novartis announced Wednesday it is to purchase the Austrian specialty generics business EBEWE Pharma in a bid to improve the reach of its own generic drug division, Sandoz.

Novartis said it had reached an agreement to pay 925 million euros (1.2 billion dollars) in cash for EBEWE Pharma and its portfolio that includes oncology medicines.

EBEWE Pharma's separate injectable neurological products business was not part of the deal.

The firm would become new unit of Sandoz that would be based in Unterach, Austria and headed by Friedrich Hillebrand who led a group of investors to acquire EBEWE Pharma in a management buy-out in 2001, according to Novartis.

EBEWE Pharma reported net sales of 188 million euros in the 2008 fiscal year, with operating income at 53 million euros.