Scottish Daily Mail
Indivior hit by former owner’s £1.1bn lawsuit
I NDIVIOR’S market value plunged by a fifth after its former owner kicked off a £1.1bn legal battle against the opioid maker.
Reckitt Benckiser filed the lawsuit in London’ s Commercial Court earlier this month, Indivior told the stock market yesterday.
Though it added it has not yet been served.
Reckitt’s move could restart a crisis that has rocked Indivior for years over how the company marketed its best-selling opioid addiction treatment, Suboxone.
US government prosecutors spent years accusing Indivior of fraudulently marketing the blockbuster drug and making misleading safety claims to win endorsement from doctors.
Indivior has been fined hundreds of millions of pounds and last month its former boss Shaun Thaxter was sentenced to six months in a US jail.
That, supposedly, was the close of a scandal linked to an opioid epidemic that has claimed hundreds of thousands of lives.
But consumer goods giant Reckitt – which owns Nurofen, Cillit Bang and Dettol – was also targeted by prosecutors and had to cough up its own £1.1bn bill in 2019. Indivior was Reckitt’s pharmaceuticals arm before being spun out as a listed company in 2014.
Neither Reckitt nor Indivior have given much away so far. But Reckitt’s legal battle is thought to hinge around an agreement made during the de-merger that meant it would not have to accept liability for claims against Indivior, before and after it was separated.
News that the Suboxone saga is far from over sent Indivior shareholders fleeing for the exit. During trading, shares fell by more than 40pc, but closed 19.8pc, or 24.65p, to 99.75p – wiping £180m off the company’s value in the process.
Reckitt shares fell 1.3pc, or 86p, to 6516p.
It was a lacklustre end to the week for the wider market, with the FTSE 100 rising 0.1pc, or 4.65 points, to 6367.58, lagging behind and the FTSE 250 up by 0.3pc, or 66.37, to 19462.71.
The Footsie lagged behind European peers – but global stocks on MSCI’s index of developed and emerging markets were on track for their best month on record following positive Covid vaccine updates and Joe Biden’s presidential election win. JP Morgan analysts yesterday said the ‘hattrick’ of breakthroughs makes it even more likely that one of the worst-hit industries during the pandemic will bounce back over the next few years.
Budget airlines should be ‘back to normal’ by 2023, the investment bank said as it raised the target prices on a string of companies.
It bumped Easyjet (up 0.2pc, or 2.2p, to 838.8p) to 875p from 600p and re-evaluated its target price for Wizz Air (down 0.6pc, or 28p, to 4542p) to 585p from 395p.
Ryanair (up 0.4pc, or six cents, to €15.47) was raised to €18.50 from €13.
Contractor Capita received a damp response from investors after confirming it is in talks with private equity group Montagu to sell its Education Software Solutions arm. Thought to be worth around £500m, the division helps schools do everything from recording student attendance and managing lunch payments to keeping in touch with parents.
Shares fell 0.7pc, or 0.3p, to 44.6p, despite making progress with the sale, which it has been talking about for several months.
Daily Mirror and Daily Express publisher Reach said it was performing better than expected and that digital revenues for the five months to November 22 were up by 16.2pc.
Reach was one of the All-Share index’s top risers in early trading – but it gave up gains throughout the day and closed down 9.1pc, or 14p, to 140p.