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FD animal health notes pending sale

By Staff | Sep 25, 2009

The local Fort Dodge Animal Health facilities will have a new owner by the end of the year, but it won’t be Pfizer Inc.

Boehringer Ingelheim, based in Germany, is buying the two local plants, company officials announced late Monday afternoon.

It’s buying the facilities from Pfizer Inc. and Wyeth. The deal is a spinoff of the transaction in which Pfizer Inc. is acquiring Wyeth, the parent company of Fort Dodge Animal Health.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed Monday. The transaction requires approval from the Federal Trade Commission.

”Fort Dodge is an industry leader that’s been recognized for its innovative products and research,” said Amy Kunkel, a spokeswoman for Boehringer Ingelheim. ”We believe it’s a good complement to what we’re doing in animal health.”

Boehringer Ingelheim will acquire Fort Dodge Animal Health’s main plant at 800 Fifth St. N.W. and its Riverside plant on Riverside Drive.

The plant in Charles City is not part of the deal.

Kunkel said Boehringer Ingelheim has no plans to make changes in the local work force at this time.

She said she did not know if the facilities would still bear the name of Fort Dodge Animal Health after the sale is finalized later this year.

Kelly Goss, a spokeswoman for Fort Dodge Animal Health, referred all inquiries to Pfizer Inc.

”B. I. is a good company,” said Fort Dodge City Councilwoman Cindy Litwiller, who is the director of marketing for the Development Corporation of Fort Dodge and Webster County.

”We’re looking forward to working with them and making this transaction as smooth as possible,” she added.

John Kramer, the president of the development corporation, said the German company has a reputation for keeping and growing businesses that it buys.

”I’m very excited about the opportunities it could create for Fort Dodge,” Mayor Terry Lutz said of the transaction. ”While this is a change, we think it can be a very positive thing for Fort Dodge.”

Lutz said city officials had a phone conversation late last week with the executives who run the German company’s American operations and were favorably impressed.

The mayor credited city staffers and the development corporation with an ”excellent” job of tracking the complex business scenarios that led to the purchase by Boehringer Ingelheim.

In January, Pfizer Inc. announced that it would buy Wyeth for $68 billion.

Regulators had to review that deal before it can be completed. As part of that review, the Federal Trade Commission required Pfizer Inc. to reduce its animal health holdings. That ruling led to the pending sale of the Fort Dodge plants.

”We expected to have to divest certain animal health assets in order to facilitate regulatory approval,” said Joan Campion, a Pfizer spokeswoman.

Boehringer Ingelheim makes prescription medicines plus consumer health care and animal health products. It was established in 1885 and now has 41,300 employees worldwide. Its American headquarters is in Ridgefield, Conn., and it has a plant in St. Joseph, Mo.

Contact Bill Shea at (515) 573-2141 or bshea@messengernews.net.

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