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Rough Diamonds? Sanofi Eyes Colombia, Indonesia, and Vietnam

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Emerging markets, BRIC countries — words that have recently risen to prominence in a majority of pharmaceutical and biotech companies’ press releases and in the interviews of corporate executives. Amidst the flurry of activity generated by pharmaceutical companies’ ventures into the economies of countries such as China, India, Brazil, and Russia, one company is already scouting for greener pastures. On September 12, 2012, Sanofi’s CEO, Chris Viehbacher, while at the World Economic Forum in China, stated that the company currently sees opportunities for deals in countries such as Vietnam, Indonesia, and Colombia. According to Viehbacher: “Prices of assets haven’t come down,” making Sanofi seek out targets in countries beyond China and India where prices are relatively reasonable. Furthermore, he stated the company’s confidence in the long-term sustainability of China’s growth, but pointed out that it is customary for companies to seek higher value from their industries following wage increases during economic development. Since taking over in December 2008, Viehbacher has built Sanofi’s business through acquisitions and strategic partnerships to recoup lost revenue on its blockbuster products such as Plavix. In July 2012, he reiterated that Sanofi is open to “bolt-on” transactions of up to about $2.6 billion in 2012.

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