Astra Tech for Sale : $2 billion

AstraZeneca is considering spinning off a Swedish business that makes dental implants and medical devices for $2bn (£1.25bn). The Anglo-Swedish drugmaker said today that it had hired JP Morgan Chase to help with a strategic review of the firm. In 2009 the industry suffered its weakest year, with sales falling by 3% to 5%. This year the market has been flat but it is slowly recovering.

Potential suitors for Astra Tech include US rivals such as privately held Biomet, along with 3M, Zimmer, Danaher and Dentsply International, as well as private equity firms, according to industry analysts. Medical technology firms such as Medtronic and Johnson & Johnson seeking to enter the dental implant market could also be interested.

In Europe, the most likely bidders are Swiss firms Nobel and Straumann, the market leaders controlling 21% and 22% of the dental implants market.

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