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Boehringer to bid for poultry vaccine maker Lohmann: sources

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Germany's Boehringer Ingelheim, the world's largest unlisted drugmaker, is looking to expand its animal health business and is set to make an offer for poultry vaccine and feed additives maker Lohmann, two people familiar with the matter said.

Boehringer Ingelheim, which is among the world's top 10 suppliers of animal health products, is expected to submit a bid for privately-held Lohmann Animal Health by a Monday deadline, they added.

The bid will value the company, which is owned by PHW Group, Germany's biggest poultry farmer and owner of the Wiesenhof food brand, at about 400 million euros ($535 million), or 16 times its expected operating earnings, the sources said.

Private equity groups such as Permira will also hand in offers for the group, which posted 256 million euros in sales last year and employs 640 staff, the sources added.

Boehringer bought animal health businesses worth roughly $500 million in 2009 that Pfizer had to sell as part of its takeover of Wyeth.

Family-controlled Boehringer had 1 billion euros in veterinary drugs sales last year.

Peer Bayer also looked at Lohmann Animal Health, but decided against making an offer, the sources said.

PHW, which has 2.3 billion euros in annual sales, has decided to concentrate on its Wiesenhof poultry brand, which accounts for almost 60 percent of its business, as well as units such as its animal nutrition business.

Commerzbank is organizing the sale, the sources said.

PHW, Lohmann, Boehringer and Permira declined to comment.

($1 = 0.7472 euros)

(Reporting by Arno Schuetze; Additional reporting by Ludwig Burger and Frank Siebelt; Editing by Mark Potter)

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