Confirmed last summer, the spin-off had in fact been anticipated for several years. In any case, it fits in perfectly with the strategic logic pursued by Novartis since the appointment of Vasant Narasimhan.
It will be interesting to see what the Group's historical shareholders do with their newly-acquired Sandoz shares, as Sandoz sales have been stagnating for several years; in fact, the trend over the last decade has been downwards.
These difficulties are not confined to Sandoz, the world leader in generics on an almost equal footing with Teva. The Israeli company, which is still struggling with a worrying level of debt, has been even more adversely affected by the unfavorable economic climate in the sector.
US group Viatris, on the other hand, enjoyed more successful growth thanks to a strategy of serial acquisitions. However, the profitability of its operations has been in freefall for some time.
This context does not prevent Sandoz from displaying high ambitions, with first and foremost an expansion strategy focused on biosimilars - a fast-growing sector, but one in which competition is already fierce. On certain programs, the Swiss company will be competing head-on with Formycon.
Sandoz's other priority objective is to optimize its EBITDA margin to reach 25% by 2028, compared with 18%-19% at present, and thus match the performance of its peers Teva and Viatris. Management intends to achieve this by rationalizing the Group's industrial footprint, which is currently oversized because it is designed to serve both Sandoz and Novartis.
If the operating margin target is met and the growth plan works, Sandoz aims to deliver at least $2 billion in cash profits - or free cash flow - per year by 2028. At $11.2 billion, the initial public offering this morning reflects investors' relative skepticism. Skepticism which, incidentally, does not spare Teva or Viatris.
The listing is worth keeping a close eye on, however, because if Novartis' long-standing shareholders dump their Sandoz shares in large batches, the selling pressure could drive the valuation to even lower levels, and thus potentially create a buying opportunity.