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AptarGroup (ATR) Buys Stake in Voluntis, Boosts Capabilities

AptarGroup, Inc. ATR recently announced that following the approval of the French Ministry of Economy under the foreign investment clearance regulations, it has completed the acquisition of 64.6% stake in Voluntis, a leader in digital therapeutics. The company intends to acquire complete ownership of Voluntis by the end of this year. The buyout adds digital therapeutic solutions to AptarGroup’s existing digital health portfolio and will help broaden its digital health services across multiple disease areas.

In June, AptarGroup had entered into exclusive negotiations to acquire 100% of the outstanding shares in Voluntis. Per the deal, the company would first acquire approximately 64.6% of the share capital of Voluntis at a price of €8.70 per share. This valued the full company equity at around €78.8 million ($95.3 million). With the completion of the buyout of 65.6% share, AptarGroup will now launch a mandatory cash tender offer to acquire Voluntis’ remaining shares for the same price of €8.70 per share. It intends to file the offer with the French Markets Authority (“AMF”) this month. Upon receiving the AMF’s clearance, AptarGroup intends to implement a squeeze-out on the remaining outstanding shares of Voluntis, on the same financial terms.

The growth of personalized healthcare accentuates the importance of Digital therapeutics, which helps both patients and caregivers treat, manage, or prevent a disorder or disease through scientifically-validated apps and devices. The buyout provides AptarGroup immediate access to Voluntis’ proprietary Theraxium platform, which enables patients to manage their treatment in collaboration with healthcare providers. The platform provides real-time decision support such as self-management of symptoms, dosage and adherence for a wide range of chronic diseases. Healthcare providers can also remotely monitor the patient’s treatment process and disease progression. AptarGroup will now be able to serve patients and healthcare professionals with a wide array of effective tools, which can improve clinical outcomes by combining digital therapeutics with its existing digital health portfolio of connected devices.

The company has been pursuing partnerships and acquisitions to strengthen its portfolio of digital health offerings and enhance patient adherence. Last year, it invested $5 million to acquire 30% in China-based Sonmol, to develop a digital therapies and services platform, which targets respiratory and other diseases. It collaborated with Lupin Limited to launch India’s first connected device for metered-dose inhalers called ADHERO. It enables patients with chronic respiratory diseases to track their usage and improve adherence to their prescribed treatment.

AptarGroup acquired the assets of Cohero Health, which develops innovative digital tools and technologies for patients with respiratory illness. It also launched AdhereIT — a connected, intuitive and user-friendly onboarding solution for patients who use autoinjectors to administer their medications at home.

Its Pharma segment, which accounts for around 42% of the company’s sales, has been witnessing growth on higher sales to the injectables and active material science solutions markets owing to strong demand for vaccine components and active material science solutions. Meanwhile, core sales to the prescription drug and consumer health care markets have been affected lately, as fewer non-critical doctor visits and lower incidence of cold and flu illnesses have led to certain Pharma customers drawing down inventory levels of allergy and other respiratory treatment delivery devices. A shift in mix away from the more profitable prescription and consumer healthcare products will weigh on its margins.

However, the segment is poised to gain from innovative product launches and continues to be the preferred choice for renowned brands worldwide. It continues to expand in the eye care category. Case in point, recently, its preservative free ophthalmic squeeze dispenser was selected by Bausch & Lomb, a segment of Bausch Health Companies Inc BHC, for their Biotrue brand eye lubricant.

Price Performance

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The company’s shares have gained 13.8% over the past year compared with the industry’s growth of 31.3%.

Zacks Rank & Stocks to Consider

AptarGroup currently has a Zacks Rank #4 (Sell).

Some better-ranked stocks in the Industrial Products sector include Belden Inc. BDC and  Columbus McKinnon Corporation CMCO. Both of these stocks sport a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

Belden has an anticipated earnings growth rate of 63.4% for fiscal 2021. The company’s shares have gained 72%, in the past year.

Columbus McKinnon has a projected earnings growth rate of 155% for 2021. The stock has appreciated 23% over the past year.


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