Health and care group to list on main board of JSE
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.”
5 minutes with... Janthana Kaenprakhamroy, CEO, Tapoly
Founder and CEO of award-winning insurtech firm Tapoly, Janthana Kaenprakhamroy heads up Europe’s first on-demand insurance platform for the gig economy, winning industry awards, innovating in the digital insurance space, and leading with inclusivity.
Here, Business Chief talks to Janthana about her leadership style and skills.
What do you do, in a nutshell?
I’m founder and CEO of Tapoly, a digital MGA providing a full stack of commercial lines insurance specifically for SMEs and freelancers, as well as a SaaS solution to connect insurers with their distribution partners. We build bespoke, end-to-end platforms encompassing the whole customer journey, but can also integrate our APIs within existing systems. We were proud to win Insurance Provider of the Year at the British Small Business Awards 2018 and receive silver in the Insurtech category at the Efma & Accenture Innovation in Insurance Awards 2019.
How would you describe your leadership style?
I try to be as inclusive a leader as possible. I’m committed to creating space for everyone to shine. Many of the roles at Tapoly are performed by women and I speak at industry events to encourage more people to get involved in insurance/insurtech. Similarly, I always try to maintain a growth mindset. I think it’s important to retain values to support learning and development, like reliability, working hard and punctuality.
What’s the best leadership advice you’ve received?
Build your network and seek advice. As a leader, you need smart people around you to help you grow your business. It’s not about personally being the best, but being able to find resources and get help where needed.
How do you see leadership changing in a COVID world?
I think the pandemic has proven the importance of inclusive leadership so that everyone feels supported and valued. It’s also shown the importance of being flexible as a leader. We’ve had to remain adaptable to continue delivering high levels of customer service. This flexibility has also been important when supporting employees as everyone has had individual pressures to deal with during this time. Leaders should continue to embed this flexibility within their organisations moving forward.
They say ‘from every crisis comes opportunity’, what opportunities do you see?
The past year has been challenging, but it has also proven the importance of digital transformation in insurance. When working from home was required, it was much harder for insurers to adjust who had not embedded technology within their operating processes because they did not have data stored in the cloud and it caused communication delays with concerned customers at a time when this communication should have been a priority, which ultimately impacts the level of customer satisfaction. This demonstrates the importance of what we are trying to achieve at Tapoly in driving digitalisation in insurance and making communication between insurers and distribution partners seamless.
What advice would you give to your younger self just starting out in the industry?
Start sooner, don’t be afraid to take (calculated) risks and make sure you raise enough money to get you through the initial seed stage.