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Adcock Names Bidvest Travel and Aviation Head Wakeford as CEO

Adcock Ingram Holdings Ltd., South Africa’s biggest maker of hospital products, appointed Bidvest Group Ltd.’s Kevin Wakeford as chief executive officer after naming the same company’s CEO as its chairman.

The appointments follow a 10-month fight for control of Adcock between Johannesburg-based Bidvest and Chilean drugmaker CFR Pharmaceuticals SA. CFR called off its 12.8 billion rand ($1.2 billion) cash and stock offer on Feb. 7 after Bidvest built a 34.5 percent stake that enabled it to block the bid. Bidvest CEO Brian Joffe was named Adcock chairman on Feb. 26.

Wakeford, whose appointment is effective immediately following the resignation of former CEO Jonathan Louw earlier this week, has headed Bidvest’s travel and aviation unit for the last three years, Adcock said in a statement today. Bidvest’s interests also include food and car sales.

“It’s positive that Bidvest has found someone from within its ranks,” as it means Adcock wasn’t left without a CEO for long, David Shapiro, a director at Johannesburg-based money manager Sasfin Securities, said by phone. “He will know the way Bidvest thinks.”

Public Investment Corp., the manager of South African government worker pension funds and 25 percent shareholder in Adcock, had also opposed the CFR bid, saying it would prefer a change of Adcock management.

Adcock shares fell 0.3 percent to 58.30 rand as of the close in Johannesburg, extending their decline this year to 18 percent. The company last month said revenue at its southern Africa business fell 6 percent in the two months through February. Costs related to the CFR bid will be more than 100 million rand in the six months through March, it said.

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