Hypermarcas, a major Brazilian company specialising in hygiene and cleaning, beauty and food products, as well as over-the-counter medicines, has beaten off Pfizer’s bid to get hold of one of the country’s leading generic drugmakers.

Hypermarcas is paying 1.3 billion reals (about $750 million) in cash and stock for Neo Quimica, which was founded in 1959 and was one of the first laboratories to sell generics in Brazil. This year it opened a state-of-the-art factory in Anapolis, Gois and full-year revenues are expected to be 380 million reals, with earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation coming in at around 95 million reals.

Claudio Bergamo, chief executive of Hypermarcas, said the deal is highly synergistic and will make his firm the fourth biggest in Brazil's $4.5 billion pharmaceutical industry. “We are buying a company that has a pipeline of 150 new products for the next three years,” he stated at a press conference (quoted by Reuters), noting that generics are growing at an annual 26% rate.

Mr Bergamo also confirmed that Hypermarcas had trumped Pfizer in the fight for control of Neo Quimica. Rumours had circulated in September that the New York-headquartered was planning to make a $525 million taskover bid, having decided against a joint venture.

Neo Quimica would have ticked a lot of boxes for Pfizer which, like a number of big pharma players, is looking to the emerging markets, not least Brazil, as a growth driver as US and European sales of patent-sensitive drugs begin to fall. Pfizer has also expressed its interest in boosting its generics presence.

Mr Bergamo also said that Hypermarcas' bid for Neo Quimica had the support of Brazil's state development bank BNDES and his firm is going to boost its R&D spend to curb dependence on technologies from abroad.