Pfizer seeks to unload animal health division

Sale or spin-off expected

Published: July 08, 2011
By Jennifer Fiala

The world's largest drugmaker plans to shed its animal health division.  

Officials with Pfizer announced yesterday that the company is seeking "strategic alternatives" for Pfizer Animal Health as well as its nutrition division, which manufactures infant formulas and other baby foods. 

“Both Animal Health and Nutrition are strong businesses with attractive customer bases and solid fundamentals, but distinct enough from our core businesses that their value may be best maximized outside the company,” says Ian Read, Pfizer's president and chief executive officer, in a press release. “In exploring these alternatives, we can determine what options will best drive their future growth opportunities and expansion, and enable shareholders to potentially realize higher value for these businesses.”  

Just two years ago, Pfizer spent $68 billion to acquire Wyeth and its subsidiary, Fort Dodge Animal Health. After some assets were divested to comply with U.S. antitrust laws, Pfizer Animal Health incorporated Fort Dodge. Cavan Redmond, a former Wyeth executive, is now group president of Pfizer Animal Health.  

The move to unload Pfizer Animal Health responds to pressure from shareholders to divest some business in an effort to free up cash for investors. Earlier this year, the company announced it would cut its research and development budget by as much as one-fourth in 2012. 
According to its website, Pfizer Animal Health has some 5,000 employees, including 700 scientists and veterinarians, working in more than 60 countries. Forty percent of the division's global business is derived from products for companion animals, while 60 percent is derived from products for livestock. The company's portfolio includes products to prevent and treat disease, including vaccines, parasiticides and anti-infectives. 

In 2010, Pfizer Animal Health brought in revenues of approximately $3.6 billion. It is one of five operating segments within Pfizer. The others are Primary Care; Specialty Care and Oncology; Established Products; and Emerging Markets and Consumer Healthcare. 

It's not clear whether Pfizer Animal Health plans to issue a public statement during the American Veterinary Medical Association annual convention held July 16-19 in St. Louis. The division has always maintained a presence at the national meeting. 





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