September 11, 2013 / 11:08 AM / 4 years ago

South Africa's Aspen profit rises, it plans Russia campaign

JOHANNESBURG, Sept 11 (Reuters) - South Africa’s Aspen Pharmacare said on Wednesday its full-year earnings rose by a quarter, helped by strong performance at home and overseas, and it was planning a push into Russia.

Aspen, Africa’s largest maker of generic drugs, said diluted headline earnings totalled 786.9 cents per share, up from 626.9 cents a year earlier.

Headline earnings, the main measure of profit in South Africa, exclude certain one-time items.

Revenue rose by 27 percent to 19.3 billion rand ($1.9 billion).

The company, which is 19 percent owned by Britain’s GlaxoSmithKline, has been on an aggressive acquisition trail this year that has broadened its offering of medicines in fast-growing regions such as Latin America and southeast Asia.

It said in June it would acquire a drugs and manufacturing business from U.S. firm Merck in a $1 billion deal to bolster its presence in Europe, Latin America and Asia.

It is also in talks to buy thrombosis drugs and a French factory from GlaxoSmithKline, in another deal likely to be worth $1 billion.

The completion of these deals will expand its portfolio of global brands, the company said in a statement.

“This will enable Aspen to establish its own business units in Russia, other former Soviet republics and across Europe as well as extending its influence in Latin America and Asia,” it said.

Shares of Aspen were up 2.5 percent at 250.20 rand at 11 GMT, outperforming a slight decline in Johannesburg’s All-share index.

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