Updated from 1:53 p.m. EDT

Alpharma ( ALO) is getting out of the generics business, and in doing so shedding the part of the company that accounted for more than half its revenue in the first six months of the year.

The Fort Lee, N.J., pharmaceuticals company is selling its U.S. and international generics operations to Iceland's Actavis Group for $810 million. The sale should close in the fourth quarter, and Alpharma believes the transaction will add to its 2006 earnings.

Alpharma is keeping its branded pharmaceuticals, active pharmaceutical ingredients and animal health businesses, as well as ParMed Pharmaceuticals, a distribution unit.

For the six months ended June 30, the retained businesses generated 41% of Alpharma's total revenue and 64% of its operating income before corporate and unallocated expenses. The company said the move will improve its ability to invest in growth opportunities within its remaining specialty pharmaceutical operations.

Additionally, Alpharma will be in a position to repay its debt by the middle of next year. The company is expecting net proceeds of $150 million to $200 million after its debt is paid back.

Shares of Alpharma were rising $1.13, or 4.6%, to $25.70.

The landscape of the generic-drugs sector has changed significantly this year. Teva ( TEVA) is buying Ivax ( IVX), Novartis ( NVS) took over Eon Labs, and Able Labs is out of business.

Elsewhere, Andrx ( ADRX) has run in to trouble with the Food and Drug Administration, which recently placed a halt on approving the company's drug applications, and Mylan Labs ( MYL) has seen a planned merger with King Pharmaceuticals ( KG) fall apart.

Two months ago, TheStreet.com's Robert Steyer wrote a story examining consolidation in the sector , including the part played by companies from abroad.

Alpharma's global generics business, including ParMed, whose results have historically been included with the U.S. generics segment, reported sales of $843 million last year out of a total of $1.3 billion.

Because of the pending transaction, Alpharma has temporarily suspended its search for a chief executive to succeed Ingrid Wiik, who earlier this year said she planned to retire once a successor was named.