Friendly takeover of Lek successfully completed

In its Strategic Integration into the Novartis Group, Lek Retains and Consolidates its Identity

29. 11. 2002

Ljubljana, 29 November 2002 – The new strategic alliance of Lek Pharmaceuticals d.d. represents yet another milestone in the company’s development. By maintaining its identity and through the synergy of business operations within the Novartis Group, Lek faces new professional and business challenges that provide both the company and its employees with new opportunities for growth.

On 21 November 2002, the Slovenian Securities Market Agency declared the public offer by the bidder Servipharm AG, Basel, Switzerland, a company within the Novartis Group, for the purchase of all shares of the pharmaceutical company Lek d.d., successfully completed. Based on a friendly takeover offer, the bidder acquired 99.07% of the total shares of Lek d.d. In addition, the Slovenian Anti-Trust Agency issued a ruling declaring that the takeover bid complied with regulations regarding competition and therefore did not contest it. The friendly takeover procedure was successfully completed on 28 November 2002 by paying out the purchase price to the tenderers’ accounts and by transferring the shares to the bidder’s stock account.

For Lek, the new strategic alliance represents a new milestone in the company’s continued successful development, posing new professional and business challenges as well as opportunities for the development and growth of both the company and its employees.

As part of the Novartis Group, Lek will concentrate on the integration and expansion of joint business operations. It will offer patients the most up to date and effective treatment at reasonable prices. Lek will continue to invest in developing health care and research in its traditional markets. Lek will also continue its efforts to realize its mission as a socially responsible partner with the community and individuals

Lek will retain its corporate and brand name, and thereby also its identity. Novartis will support Lek’s investment plans to increase its capacities in Slovenia and its other key regions. Lek will become the leading generic pharmaceutical company in the markets of Central Eastern Europe, South Eastern Europe and the CIS. Within the Novartis Group, Lek will operate as an independent company under its established brand name. The competitive position, strategic goals, and the managerial procedures and practices of Lek and Novartis, promise to create a highly complementary business scenario advantageous to both companies. In concert, the companies will produce even better results. Together, Lek and the Novartis Group will not only represent a strong player in the European pharmaceutical market, but will also secure for themselves a leading position on the global generics market, above all, in the markets that offer the best growth potential. Human resources are the most important element in attaining competitive advantage. We at Lek are conscious of this, and plan to continue to invest in the professional growth of our workforce, particularly by acquiring the latest expertise and knowledge, as well as hiring new employees

This press release contains statements and conclusions based on projections of Lek’s future business operations. These estimates are derived from the best information currently available. In case these forecasts prove unreliable, the actual results could prove different from those projected.

  • * *

For additional information, please contact: Miša Komar Žiberna, Lek’s Corporate Communications Telephone: + 386 1 580 22 43