Reckitt Benckiser has set its sights on expanding its consumer health presence in the USA, with a move to buy speciality pharmaceutical group Adams Respiratory Therapeutics for $2.3 billion (£1.1 billion).

Under the terms of the deal, the UK group has agreed to pay $60 per share for the New Jersey-based firm, and expects a one-time charge of $60 million for integrating and restructuring Adams, which has around 500 staff, into its business.

Adams operates only in the US, and currently has two brands on the market: its flagship Mucinex, a market-leading decongestant; and the cough suppressat Delsym. The group has seen its sales expand rapidly over the last few years, swelling from $14 million in fiscal 2003 to $332 million this year, with Mucinex the key driver of growth and a key spark in Reckitt Benckiser’s attraction to the company.

Explaining the strategy behind the acquisition, Bart Becht, Chief Executive of the UK group, said: “Adams will add to our portfolio a new, rapidly growing Powerbrand in Mucinex, a market and innovation leader in cough and congestion relief in the USA. Equally important, it will provide Reckitt Benckiser an entry into health care in the USA, the world’s largest OTC market.”

He went on to claim that the US group has “extremely good growth potential”, flagging a continued investment in Mucinex products in the USA, the potential for the brand’s international expansion from 2010, and the launch of new products as expected key drivers of success.

The acquisition, which has been approved by both company boards, remains subject to anti-trust approvals and other customary closing conditions, although Reckitt Benckiser has stated it is not expecting any anti-trust issues to arise.

It started with Boots
The UK group majorly expanded its OTC offering back in 2005 with the purchase of Boots Healthcare for around £1.9 billion, in a move designed to substantially strengthen its global position in both healthcare and personal care.

“We have already shown with the acquisition of Boots Healthcare International that we can generate shareholder value in consumer healthcare [and] believe Adams represents another attractive opportunity for our shareholders,” Brecht concluded.