Blood plasma business Plasma Resources UK is to be taken over by US private equity firm Bain Capital in a deal worth £200 million. PRUK was put on the market by the government as part of a continued divestment of services to generate funds to include the expected privatisation of the Royal Mail, as well as the sale of part of the student loans book and several buildings. PRUK supplies a third of the NHS’s blood plasma needs and sells products around the world, with yearly sales of about £110 million. Created by the Labour Government in 2002 to ensure a supply of blood products, it transforms plasma into treatments for neurological diseases, immune deficiencies and haemophilia. It runs the Bio products laboratory in Elstree, Hertfordshire, where blood products are made and DCI Biologicals in the US, which collects and sells blood plasma.
Bain Capital will pay £90 million upfront to take on 80 per cent of the business, with a further £110 million due in five years. The Department of Health will keep the remaining 20 per cent. The intention to privatise the business was made known in January. Robin Marshall, the managing director of Bain Capital in the UK said it will invest in PRUK to “increase production capacity, refurbish and maintain the existing facilities, develop new products and expand the company‘s international reach”. The government says the move to privatise the company will help create innovations in plasma treatments. However, some have criticised the sale, warning that PRUK will be vulnerable to being used as a source of profit, and not focus on the needs of patients.