Siegfried buys BASF drug ingredient businesses for $306 million

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - German chemicals group BASF has agreed to sell parts of its pharmaceutical ingredients business to Swiss drug contract manufacturer Siegfried Holding for 270 million euros ($306 million), including assumed debt. "Siegfried will reach the critical size to play a leading role in the supplier market as a recognized partner for the pharmaceutical industry," said Siegfried Chief Executive Rudolf Hanko. Siegfried said financing of the transaction was secured by a syndicate of Swiss banks and there were no plans for a capital increase. It plans to issue a hybrid bond for partial refinancing after completion of the deal. BASF said on Thursday the move was part of a strategy to focus its pharmaceutical ingredients business on excipients, which are auxiliary pharmaceutical ingredients that help the body to better absorb a drug. BASF will keep selected active ingredients such as ibuprofen, omega-3 fatty acids and polyethylene glycol (PEG), where the company has a leading market position. (Reporting by Ludwig Burger; Editing by Hugh Lawson)