Healthy earnings for Aspen Pharma

The pharmaceuticals company saw revenue increase by 27 percent in its full-year report.

Aspen Pharmacare saw revenue increase by 27 percent in its full-year report. Picture: Stock.XCHNG

JOHANNESBURG - Aspen Pharmacare on Wednesday said its full-year earnings rose by a quarter, helped by strong performance at home and overseas.

The company also announced it was planning a push into Russia.

Africa's largest maker of generic drugs and the ninth largest generic company in the world said diluted headline earnings totalled 786.9 cents per share, up from 626.9 cents a year earlier.

Revenue rose by 27 percent to R19.3 billion.

The company, which is 19 percent owned by Britain's GlaxoSmithKline, has been on an aggressive acquisition trail this year.

It 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 United States 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.

Co-founder and Group CEO Stephen Saad told 567 CapeTalk/Talk Radio 702's Bruce Whitfield on Wednesday night that he was proud that the company had seen an unbroken streak of 30 successful results over 15 years.

"Our model's working and it's great," he said.

He said in South Africa and other emerging economies, the market for generic medication has grown far faster than the market for original brands.

The increase in diagnoses of diseases like diabetes has also increased the pharmaceutical market overall.

He says the largely international company now sees less than 40 percent of its revenue coming from South Africa.

"With the transactions to come, it will probably be less than 25."

However, their manufacturing business in South Africa will continue to grow while exports will follow.

Shares of Aspen were up 4.25 percent at R254.42 by close of trading on Wednesday, outperforming a slight decline in Johannesburg's All-Share Index.