Creat Explores Options for German Blood Plasma Firm Biotest
(Bloomberg) -- China’s Creat Group Corp. is weighing options for its stake in German blood-plasma supplier Biotest AG, an attempt to unwind a years-long investment that was upended by U.S. intervention.
Biotest has been informed by its major shareholder Tiancheng International Investment Ltd., a unit of Creat, that it’s in the early stage of considering strategic options for its holding, the German company said in a statement Tuesday. The deliberations may not result in a transaction, according to the statement, which confirmed an earlier Bloomberg News report.
Creat is working with Bank of America Corp. on a potential sale of its stake in Biotest, people familiar with the matter said earlier. The Chinese company has started gauging interest in Biotest from potential buyers, the people said, asking not to be identified because the information is private.
Biotest’s common shares were up 17% at 1:05 p.m. Tuesday in Frankfurt, putting the company on track for its biggest daily gain since January 2018 and giving it a market value of about 1.3 billion euros ($1.6 billion).
Any divestment would see the acquisitive Chinese group unwind part of a series of overseas acquisitions that began in 2016. Creat also owns the U.K.’s Bio Products Laboratory Ltd. and a stake in domestic blood plasma firm Shanghai RAAS Blood Products Co. Its shopping spree drew scrutiny from the Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S., which first forced it to sell Biotest’s U.S. operations.
Earlier this year, Creat also offloaded BPL’s U.S. plasma centers. The sale of the U.S. activities hurts the overall scale of Creat’s blood plasma business and undermines the strategic rationale for the acquisitions, the people said. North America historically accounts for about half the global blood plasma market, according to Biotest data.
Any sale process would likely attract buyout firms. Private equity firm Triton has its “broader radar” of potential targets, managing partner Martin Huth told journalists earlier this year.
Creat currently owns about 90% of Biotest’s common stock, while the German firm’s preference shares are held by other investors, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
Biotest, which has more than 1,900 employees, provides plasma to treat patients with blood coagulation disorders, auto-immune diseases and immune deficiencies, according to its website. The company also develops monoclonal antibodies to treat blood cancers and lupus.
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