Novartis with an ambitious $5 billion buy-back program, strategic review of business units

Europe’s biggest drugmaker by sales, is planning to repurchase $5 billion over the next two years and to expand its business to new areas.

The company made a statement earlier today that the buy-back program is set to start immediately. The statement was made just before the start of the companys annual investor day.

Now, the Swiss, Basel based company is producing pharmaceuticals for cardiovascular, respiratory and infectious diseases, oncology, neuroscience, transplantation, dermatology, gastrointestinal and urinary conditions, and arthritis, vaccines and diagnostics, vision, and animal health products. The company aims to expand its business to new areas, such as treatments for skin and heart diseases.

According to the company Chief Executive Officer, Joseph Jimenez, cited by Bloomberg, “Novartis has reached an inflection point, having fully integrated Alcon and reduced debt”, and added “We are now further sharpening the execution of our strategy to strengthen shareholder value through science-based innovation in high-growth segments of health care where we have the global scale, competitive advantage and the right capabilities to win.”

Obviously, the company is restructuring and trying to optimize its business segments, reviewing all business segments that lack global scale. One typical example for this is their unit for animal health operation, whose future is now jeopardized.

Earlier this month, Novartis announced that it will sell its diagnostic unit to the Spanish, Barcelona based company Grifols SA (GRF). The sale is worth $1.68 billion and is part of the previously mentioned strategic review of the company’s market segments. According to the CEO Joseph Jimenez, the ultimate goal for Novartis is to restructure its business units in a way, that all of them will be among the industry leaders. Now, the Basel based company is well-known for its eye-care business division, Alcon, the generics arm division, Sandoz and its pharmaceuticals production unit, which are all leaders on a global level.

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