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Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc. said Tuesday that it plans to acquire Lithuania-based pharmaceutical company AB Sanitas for the equivalent of just over $500-million, including debt.

Mississauga-based Valeant said major shareholders of AB Sanitas have agreed to sell Valeant 87.2 per cent of the outstanding shares of Sanitas, with at least 82.6 per cent of the outstanding shares required to be delivered at closing.

After the acquisition of this controlling block of shares, Valeant plans a mandatory tender offer to acquire the remaining minority interest.

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The total purchase price is expected to be about €314-million ($432.6-million Canadian) in cash, in addition to the assumption of approximately $69-million in debt, Valeant said in a release.

Sanitas, based in Kaunas, Lithuania, has a broad branded generics portfolio consisting of 390 products in nine countries throughout central and eastern Europe, primarily Poland, Russia and Lithuania.

Sanitas has in-house development capabilities in dermatology, ophthalmology and hospital injectables and a robust pipeline of internally developed and acquired dossiers. Annual revenues for Sanitas are expected to be more than $137-million in 2011, with an approximate revenue growth rate in the low double digits over the coming years.

Closing is expected in the third quarter of 2011 and the mandatory tender offer is expected to close in the fourth quarter.

Valeant said the transaction is expected to be immediately accretive.

"The acquisition of Sanitas should provide Valeant with an exciting opportunity to expand our European branded generics product portfolio with dermatology and hospital injectable compounds that have a strong track record of growth and profitability," said chairman and CEO J. Michael Pearson.

"With 80 per cent of the Sanitas portfolio consisting of non-reimbursed products with limited exposure to government pricing pressures, Valeant will be in a key position to continue our expansion into central and eastern Europe."

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Valeant, formerly known as Biovail, is a multinational specialty pharmaceutical company that develops, manufactures and markets a broad range of pharmaceutical products, primarily in the areas of neurology, dermatology and branded generics.

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