Sanofi-Aventis has expanded its presence in China by acquiring a major consumer health care company there, BMP Sunstone Corp.

The French drugmaker is buying BMP for $0.10 per share, valuing the company at $520.6 million. This represents a 30% premium on the Beijing-based group's closing price on October 27.

BMP posted sales of $147 million last year, 60% of which came from the consumer health segment. The company markets China's top-selling children's cough medicine Hao Wa Wa (GoodBaby) and Kang Fu Te (Confort), a hygiene brand for women's healthcare.

The companies noted that through the recent establishment of the Hangzhou Sanofi Minsheng Consumer Healthcare joint venture, the acquisition of BMP will make Sanofi a leading consumer healthcare company in China, with a strong position in both vitamins, minerals and supplements, plus  coughs and cold, the two largest categories of the market.

Sanofi chief executive Chris Viehbacher said the transaction represents another strategic move for his firm to "reinforce its leadership position in China". He added that the deal will "bring us unique access to new expanding distribution channels which are expected to account for a third of the pharmaceutical market in China in the coming years”.

The consumer healthcare market in China is the second largest in the world after the USA, with an estimated size of 12 billion euros in 2010.