Bayer is to buy Dihon Pharmaceutical Group Co of China, expanding the German group's footprint in a "key growth country".

Privately-held Dihon specialises in over-the-counter and herbal traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) products. A leading player in China's OTC industry, the firm is best known for its dandruff and scalp disorder treatment, an antifungal cream and a TCM product for various women’s health indications.

Dihon, which is headquartered in Kunming, has several manufacturing sites throughout China, and its products are also sold in Nigeria, Vietnam, Myanmar and Cambodia. It has about 2,400 employees and sales last year reached 123 million euros.

Bayer chief executive Marijn Dekkers said the Leverkusen-headquartered group aims to strengthen its life sciences portfolio with strategic bolt-on acquisitions globally and "we are very pleased to have identified a consumer health care company in China with such a strong track record of success". He added that the purchase  "moves us into a leading position amongst multinationals in the OTC industry in China".

Financial details have not been disclosed and the transaction, which is subject to conditions such as merger control clearance, is expected to close in the second half of 2014.