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Merckle family might sell Ratiopharm

This article was originally published in Scrip

Executive Summary

Billionaire Ludwig Merckle, head of the VEM Vermogensverwaltung investment unit, is considering selling the German generics company Ratiopharmand other assets, according to Bloomberg.com. It said Mr Merckle issued an email statement stating that he was examining all options to reduce debt, such as the sale of companies or holdings that also include Ratiopharm. The website added that Mr Merckle might receive less than €3 billion for the world's fourth largest generics company, less than twice the company's annual sales. VEM obtained a moratorium from about 30 banks earlier this month, giving it two weeks to improve its finances after Mr Merckle reportedly lost €400 million in Volkswagen transactions. The German car-maker was briefly the world's most valuable company last month after hedge funds and other traders were forced to buy shares after they incorrectly bet on a fall in the company's share price. Ratiopharm had a global turnover of €1.82 billion last year, €819 million of which occurred in Germany. Neither Ratiopharm nor Mr Merckle was available to comment on the rumoured sale.

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