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Business deals

Takeda sells Russian assets in $660m deal to cut Shire debt

Japanese drugmaker unloads noncore businesses to focus on Asia and other priorities

Researchers work at a Takeda Pharmaceutical lab in Fujisawa, near Tokyo. (Photo courtesy of Takeda)

TOKYO -- Takeda Pharmaceutical has agreed to sell businesses in Russia and surrounding countries to a German competitor for $660 million as Japan's largest drug maker looks to further reduce its debt load.

The sale of assets to Stada Arzneimittel includes over-the-counter and prescription drugs sold in Russia and Georgia, Takeda said Tuesday, describing the business as non-core.

This deal marks the fourth asset sale by Takeda so far this fiscal year, part of review of its global operations following a $60 billion acquisition of Irish peer Shire in January.

In a recent interview with the Nikkei Asian Review, Takeda CEO Christophe Weber described Asia as a "high priority." He told an audience in Tokyo that the company is preparing to launch more than 10 new drugs in China over the next three years.

Also part of the Stada agreement are businesses in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Uzbekistan. The products range from vitamins and nutritional supplements to prescription drugs for heart disease and diabetes.

Takeda expects to complete the transaction in the first quarter of 2020. About 500 employees affected by the sale are expected to be offered jobs at Stada, according to Takeda.

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