One Equity Partners fully exits from Celltrion with $1.8 bn in proceeds

  • 2020-07-07

One Equity Partners (OEP), a New York based private equity firm, unloaded its remaining shares in Celltrion Healthcare valued at approximately 310 billion won ($260 million) through a block deal on July 6. The PE firm is estimated to have earned about 2 trillion won ($1.8 billion) in proceeds from the initial 300 billion won invested into the Korean pharmaceutical distributor eight years ago.

The deal was priced between 100,000 won to 102,500 won per share with a 4.7 to 7% discount rate applied to the closing price of 107,500 won. UBS Securities was the sale manager.

The completion of this block deal will mark the PE firm’s final exit. Its first investment was purchasing 25 million redeemable convertible preferred stocks (RCPS) worth 254 billion won from Celltrion Healthcare in January 2012. The deal made OEP the second largest shareholder with a 30% stake, next in line to the company chairman Jeong-jin Seo.

This was before Celltrion received domestic approval for its first biosimilar Remsima. At the time, Celltrion struggled to attract domestic investment because local investors were uncertain about its biosimilar business. Meanwhile, some foreign investors including OEP saw potential in the company’s biosimilar business, leading to hefty investments that helped the company build up its business.

In July 2017, Celltrion Healthcare was listed on KOSDAQ and OEP began to launch block deals in 2018.

There have been six block deals in total, with three from this year when the PE firm raised 270 billion won in April, 350 billion won in May, and 310 billion won on July 6, cashing out in total 930 billion won this year alone.

Industry sources say that the recent soaring share prices of Celltrion and Celltrion Healthcare prompted by the coronavirus pandemic has made it good timing for foreign investors to exit.

Earlier in April, Ion Investments, controlled by Singapore sovereign wealth firm Temasek, also secured approximately 630 billion won by selling off its holding shares in Celltrion and Celltrion Healthcare. The investment firm was the third largest shareholder when they acquired 12.23 million shares of Celltrion worth 207.9 billion won in May 2010, and 17 billion won worth of redeemable convertible preference shares from Celltrion Healthcare in August 2011.

As of July 7, Celltrion’s market cap is 41.6 trillion won, ranking fifth on the country’s main bourse. Celltrion Healthcare’s market cap is at 16.7 trillion won, securing the first spot on the KOSDAQ market.

By Yejin Jun

ace@hankyung.com

<Edited by Danbee Lee>