Jump to content
Powered by

Interview with Nycomed CEO Hakån Björklund

Nycomed CEO Hakån Björklund talks about the sale of his company to its Japanese competitor Takeda. He believes that the two companies are well-matched in strategic terms. Björklund has been CEO (chief executive officer) of Nycomed since 1999.

Hakån Björklund, CEO Nycomed © Nycomed

Mr Björklund, congratulations on the deal. And, if I may ask – were you surprised that Nycomed was sold at such a high price?

No, Nycomed is an excellent company and is worth such a large sum of money.

What has been your personal contribution to Nycomed’s outstanding value? I remember you buying Altana for 4.5 billion euros in 2007. You’ve achieved excellent revenues over the last few years. Now, you are selling the company at twice the original price, for 9.6 billion euros.

I couldn’t say exactly what my personal contribution to Nycomed’s value has been. I had the privilege of being CEO of the company and over the last few years, together with many talented and energetic colleagues, we’ve been able to put in place an excellent organisation and a growing and sustainable business. I consider myself lucky to have been part of this process.

So you’ve talked about the past. What about your future plans?

I will initially stay on as CEO until the deal is completed, which will probably be in September. Until then, Nycomed will remain an independent company. I have committed myself to assisting with the integration of Nycomed into Takeda; however, what my role will be and how this will be done remains to be seen. In any case, it is very important to me to be able to contribute as much as I can in order to ensure that the integration of Nycomed into Takeda is successful.

Do you know what kind of profit Nycomed’s investors have made since they have acquired Altana, and particularly as a result of this acquisition?

Sorry, I’m unable to give you any exact figures. But I know that the investors are very proud that their investments have contributed to Nycomed becoming a world-class pharmaceutical company.

Nycomed has become very valuable. Over the last few years, Nycomed has always achieved an EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation) of around one billion euros. So, what have the owners earned?

As I have already told you, it’s very difficult to put into numbers. The transaction with Takeda involves 9.6 billion euros, part of which has been invested by the owners. The debts accrued by the current owners that will be paid back at the end of the transaction also have to be taken into account.

The Nycomed staff in Konstanz and Singen are worried about their future. What can you tell them?

What I can say is, the reason for the transaction is that Nycomed and Takeda complement each other very well. Takeda has a strong presence in the USA and Japan and Nycomed has a strong presence in Europe and markets in threshold countries. The reason for Takeda acquiring Nycomed therefore has nothing to do with potential synergies. Takeda’s decision to purchase is not principally driven by cost savings. In fact, almost the opposite is true. That said, there are of course areas where the two companies overlap. These overlaps will be evaluated within the next few months and a decision on potential company reorganisation will be made. At present, I am unable to say anything about potential changes in any of Nycomed’s three sites in Konstanz, Singen, Roskilde (DK) or Moscow (RU).

Do you know anything about Takeda’s research and development activities in Europe?

I’m afraid I know very little.

I meant double structures.

Of course, this is something we will talk about in the coming months. Not just in respect of research activities, but also with regard to administration, sales and marketing. But it is much too early to speculate about any potential outcome.

What about the research pipeline in Konstanz? Are there any promising projects?

We have an excellent pipeline and we are very pleased to have several projects in late clinical phases of development. Some products, such as Daxas and Instanyl, have been launched and we have applied for marketing authorisation for Teduglutide and EffRx. Considering the size of Nycomed, these are excellent figures.

So something has happened in Konstanz over the last five years?

Absolutely. My Konstanz colleagues can be truly proud of their achievements.

Will you sell any other manufacturing facilities in Singen, following the recent sale of some Nycomed facilities to Bracco?

I don’t know. We have no plans to do so, but speculation about the future doesn’t get us anywhere. The transaction with Bracco was excellent for all parties involved, for us, for Bracco and in particular for the employees who are now part of a company whose product they have been producing for quite some years. I am sure Bracco will be more interested than Nycomed in investing in this area. We only served as contract manufacturers. And I am sure any investment by Bracco is in the interest of the employees.

What does Nycomed’s acquisition mean for the patients, your clients?

In the short term, there won’t be any changes. We will continue to produce and sell our products. In the medium to long term, it might be beneficial for our clients. Take Daxas, for example. The acquisition of Nycomed by Takeda will give us much stronger sales channels, which means that we will be able to distribute the product to a much larger number of patients worldwide. And the same of course goes for Takeda products.

Website address: https://www.gesundheitsindustrie-bw.de/en/article/press-release/interview-with-nycomed-ceo-hak-n-bjoerklund