Novartis to Spin Off Alcon Eye Care Devices Business
Novartis announced its intention to spin off Alcon, its eyecare division, into a separately traded standalone company. Completion of the transaction is subject to general market conditions, tax rulings and opinions, final board of directors endorsement, and shareholder approval at the 2019 Annual General Meeting in line with Swiss corporate law. In the event that all approvals are secured, the planned spinoff is expected to be completed in the first half of 2019.
When Novartis acquired Alcon in 2011, the business included surgical, vision care, and ophthalmic pharmaceuticals. In Jan. 2016, Novartis transferred Alcon’s ophthalmic pharmaceuticals to the Novartis Innovative Medicines Division, and it will continue to develop as part of Novartis. The Alcon Division is currently fully focused on surgical and vision care.
Mike Ball will become chairman-designate of Alcon, effective Jul. 1, 2018, reporting to Vas Narasimhan, CEO of Novartis. Mr. Ball will focus on preparing Alcon for the intended spinoff. In addition, he will start the process of recruiting a board of directors for Alcon and meeting Novartis shareholders and other potential investors in preparation for a potential spinoff. If Alcon becomes an independent company, Mr. Ball would become chairman of the Alcon board of directors. To focus fully on the Alcon separation, Mr. Ball will step down from the executive committee of Novartis (ECN) on Jul. 1, 2018.
David Endicott, COO of Alcon, will be promoted to CEO of Alcon, also effective Jul. 1, 2018. He will also report to Dr. Narasimhan until the potential spinoff. Over the coming weeks, Mr. Ball will hand over operational management responsibilities to Mr. Endicott.
If the Alcon spinoff is completed, it would create a new Switzerland-based company with more than 20,000 employees. Fort Worth, Texas will continue to be a key location for Alcon. In addition to being incorporated in Switzerland, the intention would be to list shares of Alcon on the SIX Swiss Exchange and the New York Stock Exchange.