Novartis plans Sandoz spin-off around Oct. 4, proposes share distribution

FILE PHOTO: The logo of Swiss drugmaker Novartis is pictured at the French company's headquarters in Rueil-Malmaison

BERLIN (Reuters) - Novartis on Friday proposed to offer shareholders one Sandoz share for every five Novartis shares as it said it planned to spin off the generic medicines division on or around Oct. 4.

The Swiss drugmaker invited shareholders to an extraordinary general meeting on Sept. 15 after its board of directors unanimously endorsed and recommended the proposed spin-off, the company said in a statement.

"If Novartis shareholders approve the proposed special distribution at the EGM, the Spin-off will be implemented through the distribution of a dividend-in-kind of Sandoz shares to Novartis shareholders, and of Sandoz ADRs (American Depositary Receipts) to Novartis ADR holders," it said.

Sandoz, which accounted for about 10% of group core operating profit of $16.7 billion in 2022, was put under a strategic review by Novartis CEO Vas Narasimhan in 2021 following mounting pricing pressures in the U.S. off-patent drug sector.

Novartis announced plans for the spin-off in August 2022.

(Reporting by Brenna Hughes Neghaiwi and Rachel More; Editing by Himani Sarkar)