U.S. Equity Fund Invests $67 Million in Bangladesh Drugmaker

GEM Global Yield Fund Ltd. invests in Beximco Pharmaceutical

Bangladesh's second-biggest drugmaker has received a $67 million investment from GEM Global Yield Fund Ltd. to boost production and exports.

The investment is the largest by a foreign company in Bangladesh's fast-growing pharmaceutical sector, according to data supplied by the country's investment promotion agency. Beximco is a maker of generic anti-retroviral drugs used to treat people living with HIV.

GEM Global Yield Fund Ltd will invest the money in exchange for Beximco Pharmaceutical shares valued at 90% of the average market value, the company said.

"The investment by a U.S. fund reflects the tremendous confidence shown by foreign investors in the Bangladesh market," company vice-chairman Salman F. Rahman said.

Beximco Pharma is Bangladesh's second-largest drug manufacturer. In October 2005, it became the first Bangladeshi firm to list on the London Stock Exchange to raise funds to expand into the fast-growing generics market.

Drug companies in Bangladesh have in recent years aggressively spread their export wings -- Beximco ships medicines to 36 countries -- by exploiting a concession given to the globe's poorest nations by the World Trade Organization (WTO).

Many international pharmaceutical businesses also work with Beximco, including Glaxo SmithKline, which subcontracts local production of the asthma drug Ventolin.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2009

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