Healthcare company Abbott has announced an agreement to acquire the nutrition businesses of India’s Wockhardt Limited in a move that will substantially increase Abbot’s presence on the subcontinent.

Under the agreement Abbot will acquire the nutrition businesses of Wockhardt Limited, Carol Info Services Limited, and certain Wockhardt subsidiaries in a cash deal worth approximately US$130m.

Wockhardt, based in Mumbai, India, has a significant presence in India’s paediatric and adult nutrition segments with infant formulas, weaning foods and adult protein supplements, including the sector’s leading adult protein supplement Protinex.

Abbott executive vice-president of global nutrition Holger Liepmann said that the acquisition would accelerate the company’s growth in India, where the nutritional market is expected to experience strong growth in the coming years.

“Combining these trusted nutrition products, local manufacturing capability and commercial infrastructure with Abbott’s existing paediatric and adult nutrition offerings positions Abbott very well to serve Indian consumers,” Liepmann said.

The acquisition includes approximately 600 employees in total. Abbott has approximately 1,500 employees in India across all of its businesses and has been operating in India since 1910.

These transactions are subject to customary closing conditions and various approvals. Abbott expects the transactions to close in the second half of 2009.

Abbott already offers Isomil, PediaSure, Ensure and Glucerna in India and plans to introduce additional products from its nutritional portfolio in coming years.