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Aspen Begins Wider Syndication of $2 Billion Acquisition Loans

Sept. 13 (Bloomberg) -- Aspen Pharmacare Holdings Ltd., South Africa’s largest drugmaker, started offering $2.04 billion of acquisition loans to a bigger group of lenders after attracting commitments from nine banks.

The debt includes $967.5 million of three-year loans that will pay an initial interest margin of 240 basis points, or 2.4 percentage points, more than benchmark rates, the company said in a statement. It is offering a margin of 250 basis points on $967.5 million of five-year facilities.

Aspen agreed to a $1 billion deal in June to buy pharmaceutical assets from Merck & Co. and it has offered to buy heart medicines and a manufacturing site from GlaxoSmithKline Plc for about 700 million pounds ($1.1 billion). The Durban, South Africa-based company said Sept. 11 it expected the deals would boost earnings this year.

Absa Bank Ltd., BNP Paribas SA, Nedbank Ltd., Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc, Standard Chartered Plc, FirstRand Ltd., Investec Bank Ltd., National Australia Bank Ltd. and Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ Ltd. committed to the loan in the first round of syndication, Aspen said. Bank of America Corp. and Standard Bank Group Ltd. are arranging the facility.

Aspen also raised 7.33 billion rand ($726m) of loans for its Pharmacare Ltd. unit after receiving an oversubscription from lenders, it said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Patricia Kuo in London at pkuo2@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Faris Khan at fkhan33@bloomberg.net

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