Merck buys French vitamin producer
Richelet, a privately owned French company specialising in
vitamins, minerals and food supplements.
Merck, the German pharmaceutical group, has acquired Laboratoires Richelet, a privately owned French company specialising in vitamins, minerals and food supplements.
The Paris-based company will be merged with Merck's French consumer healthcare division, Merck Médication Familiale, which is based in Lyon.
Financial details of the transaction were not disclosed.
Merck said that Laboratoires Richelet has sales of €11 million in 2001, and that over the last five years it had increased sales by around 25 per cent per annum.
"With its clear focus on innovative vitamins, minerals and food supplements, Richelet fits perfectly with our strategy to concentrate on key business areas," said Volker Keidtel, head of Merck's global consumer health care business.
This division focuses not only on vitamins, minerals and food supplements but also on cough and cold remedies such as Nasivin and natural products such as cod liver oil. "The acquisition of Richelet will further strengthen our successful CHC business in France, which recently changed its name from Monot to Merck Médication Familiale," Keidtel added.
Laboratoires Richelet, founded in 1905, is among the top five companies in France serving the growing market of vitamins, minerals and food supplements. The products are sold exclusively in pharmacies and parapharmacies. Two of its major products are prescribed by doctors: Selenium ACE, an anti-oxidative supplement, and Gerimax, multivitamins aimed at reducing fatigue.
"This acquisition combines Richelet's strong expertise and credibility with the power of innovation and sales development from Merck Médication Familiale," said Michel du Peloux, president of Merck Médication Familiale."We are looking forward to using this valuable asset to further penetrate the French market for innovative vitamins and minerals."
Laboratoires Richelet will be a fully integrated part of Merck Médication Familiale, which will move its headquarters from Lyon to Dijon as of 1 September. Richelet will keep its offices in Paris. Merck Médication Familiale had sales of €76 million in 2001.
Meanwhile, Merck has also issued a statement disassociating itself from the US-based company Merck & Co and its subsidiary Medco Health Solutions, both of which are at the centre of an accounting scandal.
The German Merck said that while the historic roots of the companies were the same - both began in Darmstadt, Germany, more than 333 years ago - the US branch was confiscated by the government during the First World War and became an independent company in 1917.
German Merck said it owned worldwide rights to the name except in North America, where it uses EMD. Merck & Co. uses the name in North America and MSD in the rest of the world.
The European firm has nonetheless been affected by the scandal surrounding Merck in the US, which has been accused of booking €14 million in sales which it never actually received in a bid to boost its share price.