BASF has announced plans to sell parts of its pharmaceuticals business and three manufacturing plants for EUR270 million ($301 million) in order to focus on its core expertise in pharmaceutical excipients.

The chemical company said on Thursday that it would divest its custom synthesis business and parts of its active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) business to Swiss pharmaceutical manufacturer Siegfried Holding AG.

"This step is in line with BASF's strategy of actively managing its portfolio and it will further sharpen the focus of the Performance Products segment on growth and high margin core businesses," explained Michael Heinz, board member with responsibility for the Performance Products segment, which includes the Nutrition & Health division.

The sale includes APIs such as ephedrine, pseudoephedrine and caffeine, along with BASF's production sites in Minden, Germany; Evionnaz, Switzerland; and Saint-Vulbas, France. About 850 employees will transfer to Siegfried as a result of the transaction.

Siegfried CEO Dr. Rudolf Hanko commented: "Through this acquisition, Siegfried will reach the critical size to play a leading role in the supplier market as a recognized partner for the pharmaceutical industry."

BASF will keep hold of its excipient portfolio and selected APIs, such as ibuprofen, omega-3 fatty acids and polyethylenglycol (PEG), where the company has a market-leading position.

The planned divestiture currently remains subject to the successful completion of processes required by law, including employee consultations and regulatory approval.