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GEN News Highlights : Jul 2, 2013

VWR Buys United Biochemicals

VWR International said today it acquired United Biochemicals for an undisclosed price, in a deal that expands the global lab supply and distribution company’s life sciences portfolio, about a year after the company lost a customer in the global pharma industry.

Founded in 1996, United Biochemicals (Sanborn, NY) manufactures and supplies high-purity buffers and biochemicals for research, development and manufacturing processes to biotech, pharmaceutical, cell culture media, and medical diagnostic industries.

"United Biochemicals' manufacturing expertise, combined with VWR's existing platform of chemical manufacturing assets, enhances our current offering to our biotech and pharmaceutical customers and strengthens our position in the industry," Manuel Brocke-Benz, VWR’s president and CEO, said in a statement.

VWR (Radnor, PA) finished last year with net income of $3.8 million, down from $57.7 million in 2011, on net sales that dipped 0.8% to $4.13 billion. The company cited a series of acquisitions, higher charges due to cost-cutting that included the shutdown of a regional distribution center in Brisbane, CA; and an $82 million (3.4%) decline in net sales from comparable operations in the North American lab segment.

While currency changes were a factor, VWR said most of the comparable net-sales decline was due to “the loss of a global customer in the pharmaceutical industry in early 2012,” according to the company’s Form 10-K annual report for 2012. The customer was not identified.

Also during 2012, VWR made six acquisitions of lab supply businesses based outside the U.S. The six included a pair of Czech-based lab supply companies known as Vitrium; lab products distributor Sovereign Group, which has operations in Argentina, Brazil, and the U.S.; Lab3, a lab-supply distributor based in the U.K.; Switch, a Belgian manufacturer of cytology and histology reagents and dyes; and its distributor, the French consumables and chemicals distributor Labonord.

VWR offers products and services for labs and production facilities in pharma and biotech, as well as the industrial, educational, governmental, and healthcare industries.