Bad Homburg, December 19, 2006

ALTANA AG: Extraordinary General Meeting approves sale of pharmaceuticals business

  • Decision on strategic realignment of the ALTANA Group

The shareholders of ALTANA AG (NYSE: AAA; FSE: ALT) today approved the sale of ALTANA Pharma to Nycomed at the Extraordinary General Meeting in Frankfurt.


In his speech, Dr. Nikolaus Schweickart, President and CEO of ALTANA AG, explained to the shareholders the main reasons for the sale of the pharmaceuticals business and the determining factors for the decision of the Management Board with respect to the strategic realignment and separation of the Group.


The significant changes in the underlying conditions within the pharmaceuticals industry were, among other things, a major consideration. These include increasing research and development costs, ever stricter requirements by the regulatory authorities, especially in the U.S., growing competition from suppliers of generics and regimentations resulting from government health policies, particularly in Germany.


In addition to these external factors, Dr. Schweickart also referred to the internal developments underlying the decision: the patent expiry of Pantoprazole in the most important markets in 2009/10 will create a product gap, and hence a gap in sales and earnings, which cannot be filled in time by new products from own research. Projects to compensate for this, such as the acquisition of smaller businesses or the in-licensing of product candidates have not been achievable on acceptable terms.


Following intensive evaluation of all options, the sale to Nycomed proved to be a targeted long term combination and sustainable solution for ALTANA Pharma. The closing of the transaction is expected by December 29, 2006, the transfer of the business by January 1, 2007.


“The approval of the sale of the pharmaceuticals business by our shareholders and the strategic realignment with a focus on the specialty chemicals business will result in a substantial change of the Altana-Group structure. This step is the result of long-term strategic considerations,” said Dr. Nikolaus Schweickart.

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