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KARACHI: Germany’s Merck Group has executed a binding contract to divest its shareholding in Pakistan to Martin Dow Ltd, a leading pharmaceutical company in Pakistan.

The companies have also agreed on long-term agreements whereby the business in Pakistan will have access to Merck healthcare and life science portfolios, ensuring continued supply of its products to its patients and customers, according to a press release issued by Merck.

Under the new owners, Merck Pakistan would continue to operate as a separate legal entity with the same employees.

No operations will be shut down and there will be no lay-offs as a result of this transaction. Martin Dow has also agreed on a two-year job guarantee for all permanent and contractual employees. Merck will pay its workers a welcome bonus at closing. The company has more than 1,000 employees.

Merck’s healthcare and life science products continue to be available to patients and customers in Pakistan.

The Marker family, the founder of the business, will remain a shareholder along with Martin Dow.

“We intend to build Merck’s outstanding record in Pakistan further and protect employees rights in the same manner as has been prevalent all these years in Merck,” Jawed Akhai, chairman of Martin Dow, said.

Simon Sturge, chief operating officer of Merck’s healthcare business, said the divestiture was due to strategic reasons.

The companies agreed not to disclose the financial terms of the deal.

Published in Dawn November 8th, 2016