The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Wyeth plans to divest Forhan’s

Mumbai, Nov. 29: Pharmaceutical major Wyeth Lederle is planning to divest its Forhan's toothpaste business. The company's board will meet on December 2 to take a call on the issue.

Analysts feel the move could be aimed at strengthening Wyeth’s focus in its core pharmaceuticals business. However, company officials were not available for comment on the reasons behind this divestment.

The toothpaste market has been fiercely competitive in recent times with majors like Colgate Palmolive and Hindustan Lever consolidating their presence. Moreover, new players like Anchor have also made an impact in this segment.

Analysts feel that brands that have marginal presence could be phased out.

Wyeth Lederle was incorporated in 1947 as Lederle Laboratories (I) Ltd. Later the name was changed to Cynamid India Limited after it became a public limited company in 1965.

Subsequently, as part of a restructuring plan, the agro-chemical business of Cynamid India Ltd was transferred to Cynamid Agro Limited and in 1997, Cynamid India Ltd merged with the Wyeth Group of companies, Wyeth Laboratories Limited, John Wyeth (I) Limited and Wyeth India (P) Limited.

This development led to the name of the company being changed to Wyth Lederle Ltd. American Home Products indirectly has the largest share holding in Wyeth Lederle with the Atul group holding the rest.

Over the past few years, the company has been involved in product rationalisation to focus on its core pharmaceutical business comprising antibiotics, steroids, oral contraceptives and vaccines apart from women's healthcare. It has discontinued more than 40 products since 1998.

The company has a portfolio of some well known brands, including Wymox, Wysolone, Ultragin among others.

In July this year, the company's board had approved the proposed merger of Geoffrey Manners & Co Ltd with itself at a swap ratio of 14.5 equity shares of WLL for every 10 equity shares held in Geoffrey Manners.

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