Comvita, the manuka honey products company, has sold its Medihoney brand to US partner Derma Sciences for about $19 million, and will reap a further $11m selling Derma shares in a takeover offer of the Nasdaq-listed company.
The gross proceeds of the Medihoney deal will amount to US$13.25m, with a US$5m earnout payable on sales milestones being achieved, Comvita said in a statement to the NZX. Comvita also owns 1.1 million shares in Derma Sciences, which announced on Jan. 10 that it will be acquired by Nasdaq-listed Integra LifeSciences for US$7 per share by the end of March. That values Comvita's stake at about $11m, it said.
Derma Sciences already held the exclusive global rights to Medihoney wound care products, and in 2016 paid $2.1m to Comvita in royalties for the use of the brand and trademarks. Those royalties will stop when the sale is completed.
Comvita will retain the use of the brand to develop its over-the-counter business, particularly for products to treat eczema, while Derma Sciences will hold the regulatory approvals to make products to European and US medical device quality standards. The deal also includes a 10-year honey supply agreement between the two.
The Te Puke-based company told shareholders in October that it expects to post a loss for its first half, ended December 31, after tough trading and significantly lower sales in the first quarter due to the impact of regulatory changes in China. It expects a full-year profit of $17.1m, entirely produced in the second half. In August 2016, Comvita posted a 15-month profit of $18.5m after changing its balance date. Comvita previously reported a profit of $17.2m in the 12 months ended March 31, 2016.
In 2013, Comvita raised about $9m selling about 2.3 million new shares to Derma at $3.90 apiece, a 3.7 per cent discount at the time, giving Derma a 7.3 per cent stake while its chief executive Edward Quilty joined the Comvita board. Derma ceased to have a substantial shareholding in Comvita in May 2016, selling down to 4.7 per cent of the company at $12.06 per share.
Comvita shares last traded at $8, up 0.9 per cent today. They have declined 7.6 per cent in the past year, having peaked at a record $12.85 in May 2016, after the company joined the NZX50 Index in April, but falling back over the remainder of the year. Derma shares last traded at US$6.95, up 33 per cent this year having disclosed their acquisition by Integra.