Quintiles, the world's largest provider of services for the biopharmaceutical industry, plans to take advantage of the improving financial markets by borrowing $2.43 billion.
The money will allow the Durham-based company to refinance $1.7 billion of existing debt with better terms and raise new capital for various purposes, including possible acquisitions or other deals.
"Current financing terms are attractive, and banks are looking to invest in the right companies," said spokesman Phil Bridges. "We believe Quintiles is seen as a safe bet to execute this type of transaction because we have a strong track record of performance."
Quintiles is benefiting as pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies seek to cut costs and farm out more duties to contract companies. That includes running clinical trials of experimental drugs, sales and marketing of new medicines, and more.
With annual sales of nearly $3 billion, Quintiles is expanding in fast-growing Asian markets. The private company doesn't release detailed financial results.
The company employs more than 20,000 people in 60 countries, including 1,400 in the Triangle.
Quintiles, founded on the campus of UNC Chapel Hill in 1982, became publicly traded in 1994. But in 2003, CEO Dennis Gillings led a group of investors that took the company private in a $1.7 billion deal.
Since then, there has been repeated speculation that Quintiles might consider becoming publicly traded again. "Quintiles routinely evaluates its financing options, but there are no plans to return to the public markets at this time," Bridges said.
The latest planned refinancing doesn't change the company's ownership structure, Bridges said.
Quintiles officials haven't decided what to do with the money it plans to raise, he said. Other potential uses include buying back some of its shares or paying a dividend to its investors.