OBS Pakistan amalgamates AGP with AitkenStuart

Rumours have been circulating of a Searle Pharma acquisition of OBS Pakistan.

LAHORE: Following Sindh High Court’s orders, OBS Pakistan has amalgamated its shares in AGP Limited, which is a subsidiary owned by OBS Pakistan, with and into AitkenStuart. However, earlier on Tuesday, a statement released allegedly on behalf of Searle by Publicity Channel, a PR company, claimed that Searle Pakistan, a subsidiary of International Brands Limited (IBL) had acquired OBS Pakistan Limited.

According to a letter dated May 16, AGP informed the Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX) that AGP Limited’s shares held by OBS Pakistan (Private) Limited had been amalgamated with and into AitkenStuart Pakistan.

The notification read “In accordance with Section 96 and 131 of the Securities Act 2015, and Clause 5.19.13 (c) of the Rule Book of Pakistan Stock Exchange Limited, we hereby convey the information as received from OBS Pakistan (Private) Limited through letter attached herewith.”

The attached letter read, “The honourable High Court of Sindh at Karachi vide its order dated May 7, 2019, has sanctioned the Scheme of Arrangement entered into between OBS Pakistan (Private) Limited, OBS Healthcare (Private) Limited, OBS Ophthalmics (Private) Limited and AitkenStuart Pakistan (Private) Limited.”

It further read, “Shares of AGP Limited (being a listed entity and subsidiary of OBS Pakistan (Private) Limited) held with OBS Pakistan (Private) Limited, amongst other items marked as Excluded Undertaking 2 under the Scheme of Arrangement sanctioned by the Court, have been amalgamated with and into AitkenStuart Pakistan (Private) Limited.”

“The above-mentioned was also approved by the Pakistan Stock Exchange vide letter dated March 13, 2019 bearing reference no. PSX/GEN-1159, and subsequently the High Court of Sindh at Karachi has sanctioned the Scheme of Arrangement whereby which the same has taken effect.”

Meanwhile, rumours have been circulating that Searle Pharma has acquired OBS Pakistan. In an ambiguous statement issued earlier on Tuesday, the Searle company announced that it will be acquiring OBS Pakistan Ltd.

The statement said that Searle, a US-based multinational company after being acquired by IBL Group back in 1993, was a listed company in the Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX) and this acquisition would strengthen Searle’s portfolio here in Pakistan.

This acquisition is believed to improve Searle’s ranking within the Pakistani market and would also provide for greater market penetration, as Searle focuses on introducing pharmaceutical research in Pakistan.

According to the statement, Searle is looking to bring new research molecules with international partners specifically their biotech products to Pakistan.

Moreover, Searle’s new initiative will be a productive move for its shareholders as well, the statement added.

OBS Pakistan Ltd is ranked among the top 10 pharmaceutical companies with a strong presence in Pakistan. It is also among the very few companies in Pakistan which have specialised in developing strategic business alliances with reputed international firms like Organon, Merck and Co. Inc. USA and Schering Plough by providing a full range of high-quality professional services encompassing manufacturing, marketing and sales of pharmaceutical and consumer health products.

In July last year, OBS Pakistan Ltd, a pharmaceutical company, through the newspaper advertisement, showed its interest to acquire 14,891,829 ordinary shares of Globe Textile Mills Limited, which amounted to 90.99 per cent share capital of the said company, with management control.

Moreover, AKD Securities Ltd had been appointed as the lead manager of the offer by OBS Pakistan Ltd in accordance with the law and regulation of the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP).

Earlier in March 2018, AGP Limited, a company owned by the OBS Group, Chairman Tariq Moinuddin Khan also hinted at more acquisitions and/or mergers after it raised Rs2.8 billion at the Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX).

Sources privy to the matter, on the condition of anonymity, told Profit, “Something is cooking in OBS. The last we heard it was going through some serious restructuring and the high-ups within the company are keeping hush.”

“The news of a Searle and OBS acquisition seems to be too vague, especially the language used and the style of the press statement issued is unusual. However, the PSX notification is also as vague as the statement, but something is definitely up. We will just have to wait in the meantime.”

It is pertinent to mention that rumours had been circulating that OBS Pakistan was going through major restructuring and this acquisition by Searle comes as a surprise for the market.

Profit has made attempts to reach IBL, Searle and OBS for an official comment on the story but has not yet received a response.

Eleazar Bhatti
Eleazar Bhatti
The writer currently serves as the Content Manager at Profit by Pakistan Today and is an economics graduate from Leeds Business School in the UK. He can be reached at [email protected] or at twitter.com/eleazarbhatti.

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