Dickinson Dees plays major role in £35m chemicals sale

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YORKSHIRE-based lawyers have played significant roles in the £35m sale of a major European chemicals business.

Dickinson Dees, which has an office in York, has advised the Indian chemicals manufacturer Vivimed Labs on its acquisition of Uquifa of Spain.

Uquifa is the pharmaceutical division of UK-based company Yule Catto. The company manufactures active pharmaceutical ingredients – which are known as APIs – for the pharmaceutical industry.

Philip Ashworth, the corporate partner at Dickinson Dees’ York office, said yesterday: “This has been a fascinating deal to work on. Vivimed Labs is a world-leading organisation with a large portfolio of pharmaceutical products and manufacturing facilities.

“The company has been building on its existing success through its continued acquisition strategy. In 2008, Vivimed bought the Huddersfield-based dye manufacturer James Robinson to strengthen its European presence and the Uquifa deal builds on this strategy.

“A strategic acquisition such as this with product registrations and specialised facilities, will help Vivimed to serve its export markets and global clients more effectively.”

Uquifa has manufacturing sites in Spain and Mexico.

Mr Ashworth added: “We provided advice on banking, finance, taxation and the law, all of which was complex because of the different countries in which Vivimed and Uquifa are based. This made it a uniquely challenging, and extremely satisfying, deal to be involved in.”

Santosh Varalwar, the chairman and managing director of Vivimed Labs, said the deal would strengthen the firm’s research and development efforts and open up new markets.

Adrian Whitfield, the chief executive of Yule Catto, said he was delighted to announce the disposal.

Yule Catto completed the acquisition of PolymerLatex, which makes a range of rubber-based products, earlier this year.

Mr Whitfield said the sale marked the final step in a long process of transforming Yule Catto into a speciality polymer business.

He added: “We are pleased we have been able to find a good home for our pharma business and wish the new owners and our former employees every success.”

Mark Robbins, the chief executive of Uquifa, and a member of the Yule Catto executive management team, will transfer with the business.

Vivimed is a vendor of beauty care products for the hair, skin, oral and industrial care markets.

Global firms including Unilever, Procter and Gamble, Johnson and Johnson Pharma, GlaxoSmithKline, Novartis and AstraZeneca are among its clients. Yule Catto was represented by Pinsent Masons in Leeds. Sunil Arab, of Srimahi, a cross-border merger and acquisition advisory firm based in Hong Kong, also provided advice.