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Hitt og þetta 24. apríl 2006

(IFN) Pliva ready to start takeover talks with Actavis -- report

London (IFN) The head of Croatian generic drugs company Pliva DD (PLVA.ZG) has expressed willingness to discuss a friendly takeover offer by Actavis Group, its Icelandic rival, while holding out for a higher price than $1.85 billion, the Financial Times (FT) reported on Monday.

In an interview with the FT, Zeljko Covic, Pliva's president and chief executive, pledged that the preliminary offer made by Actavis last week would be "treated as fairly as anybody else's", while stressing that he was also talking to other candidates.

Covic said "several partners" had expressed interest in buying Pliva following Actavis's initial offer in March. He had already held preliminary discussions with "a couple" of other companies.

Pliva's head expressed continued concern about Actavis's level of debt. He is also worried about the potential impact of a takeover on Pliva's staff numbers and activities, notably in southern and eastern Europe, the newspaper said.

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Sources: www.ft.com; Dow Jones Newswires

Icelandic Financial News (IFN) is available on Factiva, a joint venture between Reuters and Dow Jones Newswires, FT.COM, LexisNexis, Comtex, Gale and Thomson via the Nordic Business Report.