Nestlé completes sale of Alcon to Novartis

Posted by Josette Dunn on 27th August 2010

Nestlé on Wednesday completed the sale of its remaining shares in Alcon to Novartis, representing around 52% of Alcon’s share capital, for USD 28.3 billion.Nestlé acquired Alcon in 1977 for USD 280 million. Over the years, Nestlé supported Alcon’s R&D drive and international expansion, enabling the company to build a significant global leadership position in the eye care business. Taking into account the three steps of the gradual divestment of Alcon – the initial IPO of 23.25% in 2002, the sale of 24.8% in 2008 and the sale of Nestlé’s remaining Alcon shares to Novartis completed yesterday – Nestlé has realised USD 41 billion, thereby achieving full and fair value for its shareholders.

As an immediate result, Nestlé will substantially reduce its net debt position, which stood at CHF 29.6 billion at the end of June 2010. The Group will continue to capture opportunities to accelerate its development in core areas where its competences can be better leveraged and, through responsible capital management, maintain its AA rating – the gold standard credit quality in the industry – while providing a competitive return to its shareholders.

Nestlé Chairman Peter Brabeck-Letmathe: “Over the years Nestlé’s financial and operational support has allowed Alcon’s management to focus on its fantastic development from a minor player to global leadership in ophthalmology. I would like to thank the past and present managements of both Alcon and Nestlé for their work in building such a successful business.”

Nestlé CEO Paul Bulcke: “I am happy to be part of this successful creation of shareholder value by Nestlé. This divestment of our interest in Alcon will enable our management to concentrate on accelerating Nestlé’s transformation as the world’s leading nutrition, health and wellness company and delivering on our promise of Good Food, Good Life.”