Sanofi-aventis signed agreements today with Minsheng Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd to form a new consumer healthcare joint venture. Subject to certain conditions precedent and to regulatory approvals, sanofi-aventis is to obtain a majority equity stake in the new venture. The agreements were signed in the presence of senior leaders of the Hangzhou municipal government. The intended sanofi-aventis-Minsheng joint venture will primarily focus on Vitamins and Mineral Supplements (VMS), the largest consumer healthcare segment in China, where Minsheng has established a strong presence with its flagship multivitamin brand of 21 Super-Vita.
Globally, Sanofi-aventis is the 5th largest consumer healthcare company, and the French group continues to expand its presence through mergers and acquisitions. Most recently, sanofi-aventis announced its planned acquisition of Chattem Inc., a leading manufacturer and marketer of branded consumer healthcare products, toiletries and dietary supplements in the United States, a country that represents 25 percent of the worldwide consumer healthcare market.
“We are pleased to take a significant step toward establishing the new consumer healthcare joint venture with Minsheng, our long-standing partner”, said Hanspeter Spek, president, Global Operations, Sanofi-aventis. “Combined with our leadership position in vaccines, we will continue to contribute to preventative healthcare in China. Entering the world’s second largest consumer healthcare market is also a strategic move for sanofi-aventis to consolidate its position in consumer healthcare”, added Hanspeter Spek, who presided over the signing ceremony together with Minsheng and senior leaders of Hangzhou municipal government.
“We are equally excited about the prospect of forming the new consumer healthcare joint venture with Sanofi-aventis, after more than ten years of successful partnership.” said Zhu Fujiang, chairman of Minsheng Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. He added: “Sanofi-aventis is an energetic and dynamic company. His success with pharmaceuticals and vaccines has demonstrated his strong marketing capability. We hope that once materialized, the new venture will revitalize our consumer healthcare business and expand the reach of our products to benefit more consumers. We also hope that the new venture will serve as a platform for us to develop more health products in order to contribute to the local economy and meet consumer needs”.
In 2008, the consumer healthcare market in China was estimated to approach 7 billion Euro (approximately 70 billion RMB). The market is forecasted for continued double-digit growth over the next five years, driven by favourable market trends, such as increasing consumer affordability, government focus on health awareness and prevention driving an already well-established trend for self medication, and proliferation of pharmacy chains and modern trade.