Ascendis to sell noncore Bioscience businesses for US$33.05m

SOUTH AFRICA – Ascendis Health, a South African based health and wellness group, has unveiled plans of selling its three businesses within the Biosciences division to a consortium for US$33.05 million (R480m) as part of a strategic review.

Ascendis has earmarked Efekto, Marltons and Afrikelp businesses to a consortium comprising of RMB Ventures, Nedbank Private Equity and certain members of the management of the Ascendis Biosciences division, reports Business Day.

According to Thomas Thomsen, Ascendis’ chief executive officer the business units have been noncore to the group’s strategy.

“Following our strategic business review last year the Biosciences division was considered as noncore to the group’s strategy and was identified for sale.

“While these Biosciences businesses are performing well, they serve a different set of customers and require capabilities and skills that are not core to Ascendis Health.”

The group has been divesting noncore assets as part of a strategic review aimed at improving cash generation, enhancing profitability and accelerating organic growth.

Efekto manufactures and sells home and garden pesticides, fertiliser and plant food products and Afrikelp specialises in natural growth stimulants extracted from seaweed to improve the quality and quantity of agricultural crops. 

Marltons, established more than 80 years ago, manufactures and distributes pet care and pet products.

Thomsen said the cash proceeds from the sale will strengthen the group’s financial position in the short term and be used to reduce debt levels and fund working capital.

Ascendis, which also has operations in Cyprus, Hungary, Romania and Spain, said the remaining businesses in the Biosciences division, Avima and Klub M5, may be considered for divestment in the short to medium term.

Under its strategy review, Ascendis has managed to sell its South African sports nutrition business for US$3.72 million (R54m) followed by the sale of the pharmaceutical manufacturing facility in Gauteng for US$8.85 million (R130m) in December

In January, the group received an unsolicited offer for its Cyprus-based generic pharmaceutical business Remedica.

The firm has also announced the immediate appointment of three board members at the following the retirement of John A Bester from the board as chair and independent non-executive director and would be replaced by Andrew Marshall.

Phildon Roux was also appointed to the board as an independent non-executive director.

News Reporter

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