Merck KGaA may pursue acquisitions, biosimilars investment to fuel growth

Merck KGaA CEO Karl-Ludwig Kley acknowledged on Friday that the drugmaker could pursue additional acquisitions as it focuses on "organic and inorganic growth" over the next two years. The company suggested that in-licensing agreements in pharmaceuticals, as well as planned investments of around 100 million euros ($138 million) in the biosimilars business, are also feasible options.

"We are able to take ambitious steps," Kley remarked, adding "we can afford investments and acquisitions," as the company is now debt free, having repaid more than 4.5 billion euros ($6.2 billion) over the last four years related to the purchase of Millipore. Analysts suggest that Merck could afford deals of 10 billion euros ($13.8 billion) or more.

Meanwhile, the company's non-prescription drugs division could also be bolstered by asset purchases. "Bolt-on national or regional acquisitions are possible," Kley remarked.

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