Aspen First-Half Profit Gains on Sales in South Africa, Asia

Aspen Pharmacare Holdings Ltd. (APN), Africa’s largest generic drugs manufacturer, said first-half earnings climbed 12 percent as sales increased in South Africa, Asia and Latin America.

Net income advanced to 1.7 billion rand ($184 million) in the six months through December, compared with 1.5 billion rand a year earlier, the Durban, South Africa-based company said today in a statement. That included a foreign-currency gain of 46.7 million rand as currencies in countries outside South Africa strengthened versus the rand.

Sales climbed 20 percent to 9 billion rand, including 3.4 billion from the Asia-Pacific region and 3.6 billion from South Africa, said Aspen, 18.6 percent owned by British drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline Plc. (GSK) Profit from units outside its home market climbed to 63 percent of the total, compared with 61 percent a year earlier.

“The Asia-Pacific business is expected to replace South Africa as the group’s largest revenue generator by the end of the 2013 financial year,” Aspen said. “Further countries in which Aspen can set up its own sales infrastructure in Asia are under consideration.” The company will start trading in Malaysia before the end of the financial year, it said.

Aspen, which supplies medicine in more than 150 countries, bought a portfolio of 25 pharmaceutical brands from GlaxoSmithKline in a 2.2 billion-rand deal last year. It said last month it is in talks to buy Dutch manufacturing capacity and product lines from U.S. medicine maker Merck & Co. (MRK)

The shares fell after five consecutive days of increases, declining 0.3 percent to 185.4 rand by 3:06 p.m. in Johannesburg. The company, which has gained 10 percent in the year to date, is trading close to a 22-year high, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

To contact the reporter on this story: Janice Kew in Johannesburg at jkew4@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Celeste Perri at cperri@bloomberg.net

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