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Novartis chairman says all options open for Sandoz unit


© Reuters. FILEPHOTO: Novartis’ logo and the divisions Sandoz & Alcon of Swiss drugmaker Novartis are seen on January 29, 2020 at an office in Rotkreuz. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann/File Photo

ZURICH (Reuters) – Novartis is keeping all options open for the future of its generics division Sandoz, its chairman said in an interview with Swiss TV channel TeleZüri to be broadcast on Tuesday.

Joerg reinhardt, when asked whether Novartis could combine Sandoz with Israel-based Teva or U.S. Viatris, said “All options open for us”. It was possible to list Sandoz on the Swiss Stock Exchange, do a merger, or keep the company.

He stated, “We told you that we were going to look at it” and would make a decision within 12 months.

Reinhardt stated that Novartis’s innovative pharmacy business and its generics business were further separated over the past years, so it was sensible to look at other options.

Novartis indicated last month that it may divest Sandoz due to rising prices in the non-patent drug industry.

Reinhardt was asked how Novartis would use the profits from its Roche sale. He replied: “We prefer to invest in our business instead of doing a share purchaseback.” In the coming months, we’ll make that decision.”

Reinhardt did not rule out potential acquisitions. However, Reinhardt stated it was crucial to assess whether Novartis would benefit from a target that could strengthen the core of its oncology and cardiovascular businesses.

He said, “We will examine, review, and make a decision.”

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