Health and care group to list on main board of JSE

By Bizclik Editor

The Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) is poised to welcome an exciting new entrant onto the Main Board today with the highly anticipated listing of Ascendis Health Ltd in the pharmaceutical sector. 

The entry of Ascendis onto the main board is the only new listing this year outside of the property sector, and shows an appetite for investment into this high growth sector.

Ascendis Health is a health and care company that acquires and develops strong brands in plant, animal and human health.

Its forecast annualised turnover is more than R1.9 billion, it currently  has a staff complement of about 900 employees and is headed by Chief Executive Officer Dr Karsten Wellner.

Ascendis consists of three core divisions catering for preventive as well as interventionist healthcare requirements.

The three divisions are Consumer Brands (over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, sports nutrition and specialist skin care products), Pharma-Med (prescription drugs and medical devices) and Phyto-Vet (plant and animal health and care).

It is the third largest JSE-listed pharmaceutical sector company with a market cap of R2.5 billion and a brand presence spread across 45 countries. This allows sufficient size to take advantage of economies of scale in procurement, shared services, best practice know-how and market leadership.

Dr Wellner ssaid: “We are excited about the extremely positive market response we have received during our institutional roadshows.

“There is a clear demand for our unique offering which includes consumer health, care and classical pharma brands across our three divisions. The Group combines mature, resilient and complementary brands with exciting growth potential in South Africa, as well as globally”.

The purpose of the listing, with Nedbank Capital as corporate advisor and sponsor, is to fund a focused strategy based on acquisitive, organic and synergetic growth.

The subscription offer, via private placement, received great interest from institutional investors and was well over-subscribed. 

Wellner explained: “We have a requirement to finance our still growing pipeline of potential take-over targets for our three divisions and have a deliberate strategy of identifying and acquiring mature, well managed and leading brands that generate positive cash flow. All divisions are profitable and importantly, we have the committed re-investment from existing management.”

The company is showing compound average sales growth of 13 percent over five years and is forecasting to continue this growth through to 30 June 2014, before accounting for future acquisitions.

Wellner concluded: “Healthcare is a resilient sector with exciting local and international growth opportunities especially within the preventative healthcare sector.

“Our strategy is segmented into three phases: assembling our platforms within the divisions, adding bolt-ons to capture synergies and the entire value-chain and internationalisation. The listing will broaden our capital base and raise our accountability and profile. We are excited about the commitment we have received so far from new and existing investors as well as our employees.”


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