sigma-tau Strengthens with Banca Intesa Main objectives of the deal: growth through alliances, investment in new

research projects, internationalization

    ROME, March 30 /PRNewswire/ -- The shareholders of sigma-tau, one of the
 leading Italian pharmaceutical groups, and Banca Intesa have signed an
 agreement today.
     Banca Intesa will increase sigma-tau share capital by about 70 million
 euros (US$ 86 million) corresponding to a 5% stake. The total enterprise value
 recognized is 1.5 billion euros.
     Banca Intesa gave high consideration to sigma-tau's research activities in
 Italy and abroad, to the number, originality and development stage of its
 ongoing projects as well as to the group's patent portfolio.
     The deal is part of a larger project to increase the value of sigma-tau,
 with the aim of growing the business, increasing both the profitability of
 current and future products and the investments in R&D projects, to which
 sigma-tau allocates about 75 million euros (US$ 92 million) yearly. The
 medium-term target is the internationalisation, with specific focus on the
 North-American market, and the listing on a stock exchange market.
     sigma-tau is the second largest pharmaceutical group with a wholly
 Italian-owned capital, and the sixth largest pharmaceutical group operating on
 the Italian market (ranking 2004), with a market share of 3.5%. The 2005
 group's revenues amount to 674 million euros (US$ 822 million).
     Claudio Cavazza, Chairman and founder of sigma-tau, has commented,
 "Companies operating in advanced technology sectors with high growth
 potential, such as the pharmaceutical industry, can only carry out their
 development strategies both on the domestic and international markets through
 alliances. Banca Intesa is our ideal financial partner and will give strong
 support to our Group".
     Corrado Passera, Managing Director and CEO of Banca Intesa, stated,
 "Entering sigma-tau's equity illustrates perfectly our strategy towards
 Italian companies. Our goal is to support the development of healthy companies
 in Italy and abroad. sigma-tau plans to invest in innovation, has a global
 strategy, reliable managers and wants to expand into foreign markets. When
 Claudio Cavazza proposed us to join sigma-tau as a shareholder in this new
 development phase, we gladly seized the opportunity."
     The deal has been signed by Banca Intesa Corporate Division, headed by
 Gaetano Micciche, operating in Italy and abroad and relying on over 3,000
 professionals working for 16,500 large and medium size companies. The
 Corporate Division, with investments of over 37 billion euros (US$ 45 bln),
 supports companies and operates in several areas, such as the Advisory, M&A,
 Structured Finance (leveraged finance, project finance, securitization),
 Merchant Banking and Capital Markets in cooperation with Caboto.
     The Advisory group of Banca Intesa Corporate Division has structured this
 transaction together with sigma-tau management team. Studio Legale Carbonetti
 acted as legal advisor for the company, while Studio Legale
 Pavesi-Gitti-Verzoni was legal advisor for the investors.
     sigma-tau was founded at the end of the 1950s and is one of the leading
 Italian pharmaceutical groups. It employs 2,400 people, 400 of whom work in
 R&D. Since its creation, the Group has made significant investment in Research
 and Development activities. The Group focuses on the following therapeutic
 areas: cardiovascular, metabolism, central and peripheral nervous system,
 immunology and oncology. Particular significance in this latter area has
 "Gimatecan," a novel anti-cancer compound. A major agreement was signed in
 2003 with the Swiss multinational drug company Novartis, which acquired the
 worldwide development and marketing rights for Gimatecan from sigma-tau.
     Currently, sigma-tau's portfolio includes 48 projects in several
 therapeutic areas; 10 NCEs (New Chemical Entities) are under investigation;
 clinical trials are being conducted in 32 different indications with 16
 proprietary molecules, 13 of which are "new and original." sigma-tau is
 particularly proud of its R&D efforts in the area of "Rare Diseases" which is
 being intensively developed by its US subsidiary, sigma-tau Pharmaceuticals,
     The Group, headquartered in Pomezia (Rome), has subsidiaries in France,
 Switzerland, the Netherlands, Germany, the USA (Gaithersburg, Maryland), as
 well as in Spain and Sudan, where the Group runs two production facilities.
 Finally, sigma-tau has recently established corporations in China for the
 worldwide development of an anti-malarial drug deriving from Chinese
 traditional medicine.

SOURCE sigma-tau

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