Novartis completes purchase of Alcon stock

BASEL, Switzerland Novartis on Thursday announced that it has completed its purchase of Alcon stock from Nestle, resulting in 77% ownership of Alcon. This has been achieved by completing the acquisition of the remaining 52% of Alcon shares owned by Nestle for a total of $28.3 billion.

Alcon strategically complements Novartis' business portfolio, the Swiss company stated, adding a platform in eye care to its pharmaceutical, generics, vaccines and diagnostics, and consumer health divisions. Alcon realized 2009 annual sales of $6.5 billion, operating income of $2.3 billion and net income of $2 billion.

The eye care sector offers further growth opportunities underpinned by the increasing unmet needs of emerging markets and an aging population. The Alcon and Novartis eye care portfolios address a broad range of these unmet needs, Novartis noted. The companies have complementary pharmaceutical portfolios for diseases in the front and back areas of the eye, as well as strong global brands in lens care.

"We are delighted to become majority owners of Alcon,” stated Joseph Jimenez, Novartis CEO. “Together, both companies can achieve their strategic priorities to deliver against patient needs through innovative and differentiated products."

With the achievement of the 77% majority ownership, Novartis and Alcon will be able to pursue opportunities with Lucentis, the company noted, utilizing the companies' complementary field forces around the potential launch of Lucentis for Diabetic Macular Edema. Other opportunities include optimization of lens care manufacturing and research collaborations.