Ascendis Health announces R121 million specialist healthcare acquisition

By: Ascendis Health
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Pharma Natura
Dr. Karsten Wellner


National - Online - National - Online - South Africa

NATIONAL - ONLINE, South Africa - June 3, 2014 - PRLog -- Ascendis Health acquires Pharma Natura.

2 June 2014 – Ascendis Health (Pty) Limited, today announced the 100 % acquisition of Pharma Natura from Guy Wertheim Aymes Family Holdings for R121m – a deal that includes the well-known brands Vitaforce, Bettaway, Homeoforce as well as the properties and  manufacturing facility in Johannesburg.

Ascendis is a fast growing health products group, which markets health and care brands for humans, plants and animals. Listed on the JSE in November 2013, the group consists of three divisions: Consumer brands (nutraceuticals, vitamins, sports nutrition and skin care); Phyto-Vet (plant and animal health) and Pharma-Med (prescription drugs and medical devices).

Commenting on the announcement, Group Chief Executive Dr. Karsten Wellner confirmed: "The acquisition of Pharma Natura is the latest in our expansive growth strategy, delivering on combining mature, resilient and well managed health brands and expanding these locally and globally. ”

Pharma Natura was established in 1959 and specializes in the manufacture of nutritional supplements, herbal and homeopathic medicines through its leading household consumer brands namely, Vitaforce, Junglevites, Bettaway, Herbaforce and Homeoforce.  More than 90% of their Complimentary Medicine (“CAMS”) products are registered under the Medicines and Related Substances Act, 1965.

Pharma Natura also manufactures products for recognised third parties under license. Collectively, this enhances Ascendis’ brand positioning to the retail market and provides the necessary manufacturing scale, which will allow Ascendis to unlock significant vertical integration benefits for its existing Consumer Brands businesses.

The factory comprises 12,000m2 of Good Manufacturing Practices (“GMP”) certified and “MCC” licensed manufacturing capacity and forms part of Ascendis’ vertical integration strategy which includes, bringing the manufacture of certain group products in-house and thereby optimising synergies and margins.

Ascendis intends integrating the Pharma Natura brands into the existing Consumer Brands Division. By leveraging off Ascendis’ current health and care platforms and resources, Ascendis intends to further develop the Pharma Natura business into a market-leading manufacturer and distributor in South Africa and internationally. This strategy includes increasing Pharma Natura’s market penetration and expanding production capacities under the continued leadership of Greg Anderson, the existing CEO, to further the consolidation of Ascendis’ consumer brands’ manufacturing requirements.

Dr Wellner continued, “Ascendis has a healthy deal pipeline and will continue to accelerate growth through targeted acquisitions, with several exciting new deals in advanced stages. Internally, our organic growth stands to be fuelled by improved sales channel synergy, vertical integration and economy of scale benefits across all divisions. We have also received interest from well established offshore distributors for certain of our brands that are not yet exported, which will further accelerate our international expansion drive. “

The high LSM brands in the Consumer Brands and Phyto-Vet divisions make the business more resilient to fluctuations in economic conditions, while the lower LSM brands in the pharmaceutical sector of the Pharma-Med division will benefit from government’s focus on making medicines more affordable and accessible, and the National Health Insurance implementation.

Dr. Wellner concludes, “The integration of Pharma Natura into Ascendis is a great fit and allows for further market penetration, expanding our product lines both locally and internationally while consolidating our manufacturing requirements.  We are pleased with our overall performance and are firmly on track and confident to exceed our full year earnings forecast for the 30 June 2014 financial year.”

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