Just over a week after announcing plans to acquire Spain’s Laboratorios Combix, India’s Zydus Cadila is acquiring a 70% majority stake in Simayla Pharmaceuticals of South Africa.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed but the firms noted that the remaining 30% will be held by Ben Classen, the founder of Simayla which recorded revenues of 18.6 million rand in 2007, about $2.4 million. That figure is expected to top 40.5 million this year.

Zydus said that the acquisition of Simayla, which is one of the fastest growing generic companies in South Africa, opens up several opportunities for the group in a market that is estimated to be worth $4.62 billion over the next three years. With the public sector providing healthcare for up to 80% of the population, “there is a huge potential for growth in the generic sector”, the Ahmedabad-based firm said, as the government focuses on improving access to drugs while cutting costs.

Chairman Pankaj Patel said that "in keeping with our strategy to aggressively grow our global business we have been looking at key strategic acquisitions which add value”. South Africa has been one of those focus markets and “Simayla's expertise and promising growth will unlock value for us as we look to consolidate and grow our business in this market rapidly", he added.

The products marketed by Simayla fall in the cardiovascular, anti-infective, respiratory, CNS, gastrointestinal and women's healthcare segments, Zydus added, making a good synergistic fit. Over the next three years, the group plans to launch 50 products – 49 have been filed, of which 21 have been approved for marketing. Besides South Africa, Simayla will also sell Zydus products in Namibia, Angola, Botswana, Swaziland and Mozambique.