(Reuters) - Indian drugmaker Strides Arcolab said its unit acquired a U.S. compliant sterile drugs manufacturing plant for 1.25 billion rupees ($23.76 million), a move aimed at expediting commercialization of new products.
The plant, acquired from Star Drugs and Research Labs, can make up to 97 million vials every year, it said. Shipments to the United States from the new plant will begin from the third quarter of 2012.
"This timely acquisition brings into our fold an asset which is of immediate importance given the demand for sterile injectables worldwide," said Arun Kumar, group chief executive, Strides Arcolab.
Setting up a new similar facility would have taken at least 4-5 years, the company said.
The acquisition, done through subsidiary Agila Specialities, would be funded by cash in hand and internal accruals, it said.
After selling its Australia formulations business to U.S.-based Watson Pharmaceuticals for $397 million, Strides has been looking to cut debt and invest in manufacturing capacities.
Valued $736 million by market, shares in Strides Arcolab were down 0.92 percent at 655 rupees at 0837 GMT.
($1 = 52.6 rupees)
(Reporting by Kaustubh Kulkarni in MUMBAI; Editing by Rajesh Pandathil)