Case study: What molecules are perfect deals made of?

Managing and integrating acquisitions for one of the world’s leading life science suppliers


Founded in 1897, Lonza is one of the world’s leading suppliers of products and services to the pharmaceuticals, healthcare and life sciences industries. Having used acquisitions to drive its growth in recent years, the group now requires a clear integration strategy.

Dual integration strategy

Synergies cannot be allowed to happen at the expense of differentiation. Depending on the circumstances and strategic objectives, the newly acquired business has to be fully integrated into the Lonza Group, but at the same time continue to develop as an independent business unit.

Maintaining the quality of the workforce

Bringing together people from different regions and corporate cultures is a great opportunity for Lonza. But harnessing this potential means carefully balancing change and continuity. For this reason, one of the main goals of any integration has to be involving management and staff in shaping a common future, and binding them to the organisation in the long term. The same applies to Lonza.

Targeted post-deal integration

Acquisition of companies, such as Peptides (Belgium), Bioscience (USA) and Amaxa (Germany), constitutes a greater challenge to the Lonza Group than day-to-day business operations: realising the desired revenue and cost synergies means taking a structured approach to integration and keeping processes as agile and streamlined as possible.

We have a good and flourishing relationship with PwC. They are a reliable and committed partner and we value the foresighted support they give us.

Toralf Haag, CFO, Lonza


PwC’s experience and good teamwork with Lonza facilitate the ongoing integration of new businesses without overburdening the organisation. A number of factors have emerged as crucial to the success of the various projects.

Careful planning of phases

However keen everyone is to achieve the integration targets as quickly as possible, careful planning and setting of objectives for each project phase and focusing on priorities have turned out to be key to the success of the solution developed by PwC and Lonza. Step-by-step transformation ensures the necessary stability and strategic clarity at each phase.

Catalysed by quick wins

Nothing is more motivating than success: even though the full benefits of integration only kick in in the medium to long term, interim goals that can be achieved more quickly are a good way of highlighting the importance of the acquisition within the organisation, and giving longer-term efforts greater momentum.

Involvement and transparency

While responsibility for planning and steering the integration process in minute detail lies with PwC, the main role goes to key people in the companies involved. At all times, both Lonza and the acquired businesses are able to work on the basis of a transparent project structure based on open dialogue and close collaboration. Joint workshops are important milestones in the integration process. They are an excellent opportunity to match and align strategy, organisation and action planning.

Pro-active communication

Not every step of an integration can be planned in advance. To prevent misunderstanding and resistance, project planning at all phases includes open, frank communication involving all the relevant internal and external stakeholders. The communications strategy has to be able to respond to short-term or unforeseen changes in the process.


Working with PwC has enabled Basel-based Lonza to steadily build its own competencies in mergers and acquisitions. In particular, the group has benefited from the following:

Seamless experience and expertise

What was in many respects uncharted territory for Lonza – the integration of a number of businesses within a short space of time – is part of PwC’s daily business. Besides global experience with similar projects, PwC’s experts can also bring in-depth industry knowledge to the project. They offer a comprehensive range of services and provide the specific know-how to deal with any operational, tax or legal issue that arises.

Highly available, highly motivated

PwC’s project management team has enabled Lonza management to vigorously pursue the goals of integration without neglecting regular business. But the key lies not just in the time PwC has devoted, but the personal dedication of its people: everyone involved acknowledges that strong team spirit combined with direct and open communication has been a valuable driver of success.

Great time and cost security

PwC’s precise time and budget planning means that success can be measured, and that the integration process can be closely managed and controlled. Despite the great time pressure under which people have to work, especially at the critical phases of acquisition and integration, strategic objectives are achieved on time and within budget.


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Sascha Beer

Partner, Corporate Finance / M&A Leader, Zurich, PwC Switzerland

+41 58 792 15 39