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HEALTHCARE: Ascendis Makes Its Fourth Acquisition in Last 12 Months


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Ascendis Health (Pty) Limited today announced the acquisition of Chempure (Pty) Limited for an undisclosed sum. The transaction will further consolidate AscendisÂ’ position in South AfricaÂ’s healthcare products market. This deal is in line with the Groups vertical integration strategy to acquire key players in the central parts of the health products value chain.

“The Chempure acquisition, our forth in the last year, brings our total deal value in ‘health and care’ businesses, including one disinvestment, to around R500 million this year,” says CEO of Ascendis, Karsten Wellner. He adds that the group has started negotiations for possible future acquisitions in the medical device, personal care and nutraceutical sectors totaling a further R1.5 billion of deal pipeline. Ascendis’ African footprint through its Efekto/Avima division will also open new distribution channels for Chempure to 20 new African countries.

Ascendis is the wholly-owned branded health products subsidiary of private equity company Coast2Coast Investments and has ambitious growth plans in the market for over-the-counter healthcare products, pharma and medical devices as well as in the plant and animal healthcare sectors.

‘Nutraceutical’ describes substances that offer significant nutritional and health benefits and are in high demand from companies keen to enhance their food-product offerings. Ascendis estimates the domestic market for health products including pharmaceuticals, nutraceuticals, medical devices and personal care for human consumption at around R50 billion each year.

Chempure is a key importer and marketer of specialty chemicals to the food, health food, pharmaceuticals and cosmetics industries and represents more than 10 major international branded chemical ingredient suppliers such as DSM, Hilmar, Purac and Sinochem. It also provides technical expertise to keep its clients abreast of new research and diversified products in the fields of vitamin and nutritional supplements as well as food and branded consumer goods.

Following the transaction Chempure will slot into AscendisÂ’ human health division. The groupÂ’s plant and animal division include Avima and Efekto which cover the entire value chain right through to retail.

“We are planning a JSE main board listing next year to gain access to further expansion capital and possibly looking to raise a corporate bond” said Wellner. The group recently appointed Robbie Taylor, a qualified chartered accountant with a strong track record at JSE-listed Country Bird Holdings, as its CFO.

Ascendis’ aggressive acquisition strategy should not be misinterpreted as one of quantity over quality. “We are only interested in acquiring strong defensive businesses which have a strong competitive advantage and track record,” says Wellner.

Established in 2005, Coast2Coast is a South African-based private equity company managed by CEO Gary Shayne and COO Cris Dillon. The group makes use of its own balance sheet and senior and mezzanine debt to fund its investments.

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