MUMBAI (AFP) - US healthcare group Abbott Laboratories has announced a 3.7 billion-dollar buyout of the generic drugs unit of Indias Piramal Healthcare, as it moves to boost its presence in emerging markets. Abbott, which announced the acquisition in a statement late Friday, said the deal would make it the leading pharma company in India with a market share of seven percent. The US firm has agreed to pay $2.1b as a down payment, with the remainder to be paid in annual installments of $400m over the next four years. Abbott said the deal would accelerate its growth in emerging markets giving it the number one position in the Indian pharmaceutical market. Pharmaceutical sector analysts called the deal a benchmark, which could see more Indian firms selling out businesses to multinationals who are keen to expand in one of the worlds fastest-growing markets. Indias pharma sector is growing at between 12 to 15 percent each year, compared to about three percent for Western countries. Low production costs and skilled scientific talent make Indian acquisitions particularly attractive. In 2008, Indias generic drug maker Ranbaxy sold a majority 64 percent stake in the firm to Japans Daiichi Sankyo. Five of Indias top 10 drug companies are multinationals, which include players like Pfizer and GlaxoSmithKline. The deal means that Piramal Healthcare now retains just under 50 percent of its business, which includes critical care and anaesthetics, diagnostic and clinical research services and life sciences business. The Abbott-Piramal deal reflects the growing global importance of generics and the rise of Indias consumer market for drugs, said Tarun Shah, chief executive of Mehta Partners, a biopharmaceu-tical investment research and strategic advisory firm. Abbott said Indias pharmaceutical market is likely to generate eight billion dollars in annual sales in 2010 and more than double by 2015. Abbott recently acquired Belgiums Solvay Pharmaceuticals and has a collaboration with local firm Cadila Healthcare to supply generic drugs.