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Nestlé agrees to licence out Pfizer infant nutrition brands in Australia, Southern Africa

By Mark Astley+

19-Apr-2013
Last updated on 19-Apr-2013 at 14:03 GMT

Pharmaceuticals supplier, Aspen, has entered into an agreement with Nestlé to acquire the licences to sell the firm’s recently-purchased Pfizer infant nutrition brand portfolio in Australia and several Southern African countries.

Through the deal – worth $125m (€95.5m) to Nestlé – Aspen will gain the rights to intellectual property licences for Pfizer infant formula brands, such as S26 and SMA, in South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Lesotho, Swaziland, Zambia and Australia for a period of 10-years.

The deal has already been given the go-ahead by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC). Anti-trust authorities in South Africa and Namibia have been tasked with overseeing the approval of the Southern African part of the deal. A decision is pending.

DairyReporter.com approached Nestlé in regards to the agreement with Aspen.

A spokesperson for the Switzerland-based food and beverage giant said the company was “pleased.”

“This transaction is part of the divestiture agreement we made with the regulators in Australia and South Africa. The brands concerned will be licensed to Aspen over a ten year period,” the Nestlé spokesperson told DairyReporter.com.

“We are pleased to have found a good custodian for these brands,” the Nestlé spokesperson added.

“Platform” to extend infant nutrition business

Nestlé completed its $11.85bn (€9bn) acquisition of Pfizer Nutrition in December 2012. The ACCC and the South African Competition Tribunal approved the deal in November 2012 and February 2013 respectively – but with conditions.

Both authorities ordered Nestlé to licence out the acquired infant formula brands to an independent, third-party for a period of 10-years.

Following this, Nestlé must adhere to an additional 10-year ‘black-out’ period. During this time Nestlé is not permitted to reintroduce the Pfizer infant nutrition brands to the market.

Through its agreement with Nestlé, Aspen will hold the right to sell Pfizer infant nutrition brands for 10-years. During that time, Aspen also has the right to co-brand the licenced products, and transition them to the Aspen brand.

Pfizer Nutrition’s former business, including assets and employees, will also be transferred from Nestlé to Aspen for the period.

“Good commercial and strategic fit”

Taking into account the ‘black-out’ period, Aspen claims the deal will effectively provide it with a 20-year window to establish equivalent Aspen-brand infant nutrition products.

Aspen sees the deal as an opportunity to develop an “enhanced platform from which to extend the global footprint” of its infant nutrition business.

“The transaction presents a good commercial and strategic fit for Aspen, given its heritage with these brands and its strength in the IN market in South Africa coupled with its local manufacturing capabilities,” said Aspen in a statement.

“In Australia the transaction will synergistically augment Aspen’s strong presence in the grocery and over-the-counter market segments,” it added.

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