The Japanese multinational Kaneka Corporation yesterday launched a public offer to acquire shares (opa) over 100% of Ab-Biotics, with the purpose of buying 60.24% of the capital that it does not yet control and excluding the biotech Catalan bag.
The Japanese group launches the bid at 5 euros per share, which means valuing the company in about 62.9 million euros, as explained in a relevant event sent to the alternative stock market (MAB). Kaneka entered the capital of AB-Biotics in March 2018 with 28% of the capital, which subsequently increased to 39.8%, which makes it its first shareholder, and also has the license to sell its probiotics in the United States, Canada and Japan. According to the company, the bid is "a priori friendly" and has the support of the founders and CEOs, Sergi Audivert and Miquel Àngel Bonachera, which each account with 8.92% of the capital. The second shareholder of the firm (10.15%) is Luis Sánchez Lafuente-Mariol, former owner of Gelos, the manufacturer of Gelocatil. The council will meet today to assess the operation.
The group considers the opa "a priori amistosa" although it does not include a premium with respect to the share price.
The price was received with surprise by the investors, since it does not incorporate any premium with respect to the 4.98 euros to which the company closed on Tuesday. Kaneko and AB-Biotics defended the price as adequate in the face of the escalating price of the stock: it assumes a premium of 19% over the average price of the last six months. They also pointed out that the price coincides with the analysts' valuations, and values the firm at 31 times the operating profit or EBITDA of 2018, while assuring that similar operations have paid 23 times the EBITDA.
However, the fact that biotechnology is at a time of accelerated growth, and in the first quarter has multiplied by eight its operating profit or EBITDA compared to the same period of the previous year, up to 497,000 euros. The company raised its turnover by 53% compared to the same period of the previous year, up to 2.7 million euros, and achieved for the first time
close a quarter with benefits of 124,000 euros. Kaneka will pay 38 million euros for 60% of the capital of the firm it does not control.
AB-Biotics was founded in 2004 by Audivert and Bonachera as spin-off of the UAB. The firm develops probiotics and has 190 patents in different countries, which it markets with licenses to 78 pharmaceutical companies in 66 countries. In addition, he has also recently entered the food industry as a supplier of yoghurt manufacturers. Kaneka explained yesterday that his purpose is to increase the integration of the Catalan firm in his group to improve synergies and gain efficiency.