Hospira looks to M&A to penetrate emerging markets

CHICAGO (Reuters) - Hospira Inc is seeking acquisitions that will help it penetrate emerging markets such as Brazil and China, its new chief executive said Wednesday.

"We're going to have to do M&A (mergers and acquisitions) in emerging markets ... to get us going in certain countries," Chief Executive F. Michael Ball told analysts at its headquarters in suburban Chicago, where its investor meeting was being held.

Ball, who was named CEO in March, said his priority was to fix problems at some of Hospira's manufacturing plants in 2011 and 2012 and then focus on biosimilars, generic versions of biotech medicines.

The company, which was spun off from Abbott Labs in 2004, makes specialty generic injectable drugs, premixed intravenous solutions and IV pumps.

Ball said he expects to launch biosimilars in the United States by 2013 to 2015 and to be one of the top three leaders in global biosimilars.

He said he expects Hospira to be the No. 1 provider of generic injectable drugs in every major market it serves.

Hospira shares were up 2 percent at $45.13 at midday on the New York Stock Exchange. (Reporting by Debra Sherman, editing by Maureen Bavdek, Dave Zimmerman and Matthew Lewis)