City & Corporate: FD wins major pharma work

Hikma awards FD retained account after competitive four-way pitch.

FD has taken one of the largest healthcare firms listed on the London Stock Exchange from City rival Brunswick.

Hikma Pharmaceuticals, the fourth-largest Londonlisted firm in the sector, with a market cap of £1.3bn, has handed its retained financial and investor relations account to FD following a competitive pitch.

The FTSE 250 firm is based in Jordan and is listed on the NASDAQ Dubai exchange.

Previous incumbent Brunswick is understood to have repitched for the brief, alongside M:Communications and Capital MS&L - all agencies with a significant footprint in the Middle East.

Hikma operates principally in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), and has built market-leading positions in these emerging markets, helping it become one of the few major international pharmaceutical firms posting strong growth in recent times.

Ben Atwell, an MD in the agency's life science team in London, said: 'Hikma is well established as one of the market leaders in its key MENA markets, as well as having a growing presence in the US and other parts of the world.'

Industry analysts suggest as much as 70 per cent of growth in the sector over the next five years will be driven by emerging markets.

Hikma is targeting double-digit annual growth and has already seen its UK share price rise by about 65 per cent in the past year.

FD will support this growth by managing its financial and investor comms both globally and regionally.

Atwell and fellow life sciences MDs Julia Phillips and Jonathan Birt will lead the account from the UK, supported by John Hobday, head of FD's UEA office, and Tala Abu Taha from FD's affiliate in Jordan, VARCC Communications.

FD's life sciences division has concentrated on growth internationally in recent times, expanding out of its traditional UK client list to pick up clients in further emerging markets such as Connexios in India.

Emerging markets are increasingly becoming a focus for multinational pharma giants. GlaxoSmithKline has bought firms in Argentina and South Korea, plus a stake in South Africa's Aspen Pharmacare in the past year, while Sanofi-Aventis has made acquisitions in Central and Eastern European, Brazil and Mexico.

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