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HEALTHCARE: Ascendis Health Raises R 850 Million and Acquires Marltons


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Ascendis Health (Pty) Limited, the health and care products company, today announced the acquisition of Solal Technolgies (Solal) and the investment into a majority stake in Marltons for approximately R 300 million. Ascendis simultaneously raised R 850 million of capital, with a R500m ‘bridge to bond’ loan from Standard Bank and Sanlam, to consolidate its debt into a single facility and a further R 350 million equity from Ascendis’ shareholders.

Ascendis has 4 divisions being Phyto-Vet, Consumer Brands, Pharma and Medical Devices.

These two acquisitions are the latest in Ascendis’ focussed growth strategy and brings the total investment in the last 18 months to around R1 billion. The Company has signed a large Pharma deal closing next month ahead of a planned listing on the Main Board of the JSE in late 2013. With these acquisitions the company will employ close to 800 people with annual sales of around R1.5 billion. Ascendis has also begun the process to list a corporate bond by the end of this year to replace the R500 million bridge loan facility, and already has Sanlam as its anchor bond investor with R75 million in the current bridge loan which rolls into the bond.

Solal will form the core of Ascendis’ consumer brand division and is the leading SA health player specialising in preventive and anti-aging medicine, using nutraceuticals, hormones, and functional foods. The company is recognised for its innovative and premium products and its strong positioning in the preventative and consumer health market. Solal also has an Integrated Medical Centre (IMC) division that offers anti-aging and regenerative medical consultations, specialising in the early detection and reversal of aging processes in the human body. Ascendis is very excited about the synergies with its other brand’s especially Nimue Skin and about the planned roll out of further IMCs.

Marion Burgess has also joined as MD of Ascendis’ Consumer Health Brands division. She brings a wealth of experience having a BSc in Dietetics, an MBA and years of experience in the consumer and heath care industry. Solal has grown significantly since its launch 14 years ago and its products can be found in most retailers, pharmacies, health stores as well as many medical practitioners and professionals. “The acquisition by Ascendis will open up a lot of new opportunities for Solal: from a backwards integration point of view and even taking this great local brand into international health markets,” says Brent Murphy a pharmacist and key partner in the Solal business, “We will strive to remain leaders in the industry and continuously work with scientists, customers and regulatory authorities to make this great brand even better ".

Marltons provides a key addition to Efekto and Avima in Ascendis’ Phyto-Vet division. Owned by the present management for 25 years, Marltons is the leading pet health and accessories company in Southern Africa. The acquisition of Marltons is subject to the approval by the Competition Commission, which is expected by the end of July 2013.

“Marltons has a strong distribution network in chain retail, pet and vet shops in South Africa. Ascendis’ plant and animal (Phyto-Vet) division currently focuses mainly on plant care with the Efekto and Avima brands. Marltons also is a major supplier to about 2000 of Efekto’s 4000 customer doors nationally, offering significant synergy opportunities” says Dr. Karsten Wellner, CEO of Ascendis Health. In order to address and extract this synergy Ascendis recently hired Jayen Pather to head the Phyto-Vet division. With his background in supply chain and consumer products he will provide a strong focus on brands and their channels to market.

The key Executive Managers and Shareholders of both Marltons and Solal will join the Ascendis team in line with Ascendis’ emulation of Warren Buffet’s strategy to keep great management as partners after investing into their brands and companies.

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