Sanofi-aventis Establishes Joint Venture in China

Sanofi-aventis (Paris, France) is poised to enter the consumer healthcare market in China after signing agreements for a consumer healthcare joint venture with Minsheng Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd. The intended Sanofi-aventis and Minsheng joint venture will primarily focus on vitamins and mineral supplements — 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.

Sanofi-aventis and Minsheng have a long-standing relationship and announced another joint venture in May of 2009. Sanofi-aventis invested 40 million in the joint venture, which is building a new pharmaceutical packaging plant in Hangzhou Binjiang Hi-Tech Industry Development Zone. The joint venture expects to complete the plant in 2012. It will have the capacity to produce 160 million packages.

Most recently, Sanofi-aventis announced its planned acquisition of Chattem Inc., a manufacturer and marketer of branded consumer healthcare products, toiletries, and dietary supplements in the United States. The United States represents 25% 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,” says 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.”

The consumer healthcare market is forecasted for continued double-digit growth duing the next five years, driven by favorable 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.

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