Parexel eyeing Middle East M&A

Fresh off spending $72 million on IT outfit Liquent, Parexel ($PRXL) says it's hardly finished expanding through M&A, keeping its eye on small technology companies and contractors in the Middle East for future deals.

Speaking at last week's Citi Global Healthcare conference in New York City, CFO James Winschel said the CRO giant is mulling between 15 and 20 acquisitions, focused on broadening its global reach, Outsourcing-Pharma reports. Winschel said the Middle East presents an attractive market, and Parexel is considering a small buy in Turkey or the Arabian Peninsula.

Parexel's fastest-growing business has been Perceptive Informatics, the CRO's eClinical unit, and any future acquisition is likely to complement that segment, Winschel said. Last year, Perceptive Informatics jumped 10.1% to $52.2 million, and Parexel projects even more growth in 2013, with or without M&A.

The CRO's interest in the Middle East follows Pfizer's ($PFE) move to construct a giant manufacturing and packaging plant in Saudi Arabia, set to come online in 2015. The Saudi government has long looked to attract high-tech investment, touting its stable economy and solid infrastructure, and, if Parexel follows through with a buy in the region, it could get in early on what might be a booming market in a few years.

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