UCB is selling its US specialty generics business Kremers Urban Pharmaceuticals to two private equity groups for almost $1.53 billion.

The cash from Advent International and Avista Capital Partners will be used by Belgium-headquartered UCB “to reduce indebtedness and increase the company's capacity strategic investments”. The deal is expected to close by the first quarter of 2015.

Kremers Urban focuses on difficult, ‘high-barrier-to-entry’ generics and UCB got hold of the New Jersey-based business through its acquisition of Schwarz Pharma in 2006.

UCB chief financial officer Detlef Thielgen said it “has been an important enabler” to build the group’s operations. However, “it’s now the right time from a value perspective to focus on our core business” of neurology and immunology.

The sale was announced after another Belgian firm, the over-the-counter group Omega Pharma, announced it was being acquired by Perrigo in a deal worth $4.5 billion.