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Nestle buys Allergan business to expand in medical nutrition

A logo is pictured during the 152nd Annual General Meeting of Nestle in Lausanne

ZURICH (Reuters) - Swiss food giant Nestle <NESN.S> on Monday bulked up its medical nutrition business by buying Allergan's <AGN.N> Zenpep, a product for people whose pancreases do not provide enough enzymes to properly digest fats, proteins and sugars.

Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed. Zenpep had sales of $237 million in 2018.

Allergan's sale of Zenpep, for people with Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency (EPI), comes in conjunction with the ongoing regulatory approval process of AbbVie's <ABBV.N> $63 billion takeover of the Irish-domiciled drugmaker, AbbVie said in a separate statement.

Nestle Chief Executive Mark Schneider, who also gets Allergan product Viokace, another pancreatic enzyme preparation, in the deal, is bulking up on nutrition products that combine properties of medicine and food as the Swiss company expands in areas where growth may outpace its mainstream food business.

"This is a significant opportunity for our business in the United States to add a complementary product to our existing range of nutrition products that support food ingestion, digestion and absorption," said Greg Behar, head of Nestle Health Science‮‮ ‬‬in a statement.

"Nestle's acquisition of Zenpep is a strategic decision that will enhance our growing medical nutrition portfolio."

Nestle said its purchase would be finalised in tandem with the AbbVie-Allergan deal's completion, which regulators have made contingent on the divestment of some products.


(Reporting by John Miller; Editing by Riham Alkousaa and Mark Potter)