Pfizer looks to shed animal health business

The veterinary drug business of U.S. pharmaceutical giant Pfizer is on the block for a possible sale, spinoff or some other form of full or partial split from its parent.

New York-based Pfizer announced Thursday it’s “exploring strategic alternatives” for its Pfizer Animal Health wing as well as its Pfizer Nutrition business, which deals in baby formula and other infant and pediatric products.

“Both Animal Health and Nutrition are strong businesses with attractive customer bases and solid fundamentals, but distinct enough from our core businesses that their value may be best maximized outside the company,” Pfizer CEO Ian Read said in a release.

“In exploring these alternatives, we can determine what options will best drive their future growth opportunities and expansion, and enable shareholders to potentially realize higher value for these businesses.”

Pfizer Animal Health, which alone booked revenues of about US$3.6 billion in fiscal 2010, operates in over 60 countries and has “strong market positions” in various regions and countries including the U.S. and Canada, making anti-parasitic, anti-inflammatory and anti-infective drugs for livestock and pets.

The company’s Canadian animal health business is based in the Montreal area at Kirkland, Que., with manufacturing plants at St-Laurent, Que. and Brandon, Man.

Pfizer said it has engaged J.P. Morgan in connection with evaluating strategic alternatives for the Animal Health business.

The company said Thursday it expects to complete any transactions stemming from these reviews in anywhere from 12 to 24 months’ time, and doesn’t anticipate further announcements about either business “until sometime in 2012.”

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