Pfizer set to turn animal health unit into stand-alone business


PFIZER PLANS to separate its animal health unit into a stand-alone company, a move Wall Street expected as the largest US drug-maker focuses more on its core pharmaceuticals business.

Pfizer said yesterday that preparations were under way for a public offering of a minority stake in a new animal health company, which would be called Zoetis.

The business, which generated revenue of about $4.2 billion last year, sells medicines, vaccines and other products for livestock and pets.

It has more than 9,000 employees, and markets products in more than 120 countries.

Pfizer said it would provide details of the proposed IPO in the coming months when it reports second-quarter earnings.

Pfizer, which agreed in April to sell its baby formula business to Nestlé for $11.85 billion, had been shopping its animal health unit since last year.

However, chief executive Ian Read has said in recent months that any separation of the animal health business would probably be in the form of an IPO to avoid hefty taxes.

ISI Group analyst Mark Schoenebaum valued the animal health unit at about $15 billion.

He estimated that Pfizer could generate some $3 billion in cash proceeds by spinning off 20 per cent of the business through an IPO. – (Reuters)