Aspen to Sell Two Drugs Groups to Strides for $301 Million

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Aspen Pharmacare Holdings Ltd., Africa’s largest generic-drug maker, agreed to sell two pharmaceutical portfolios to units of Strides Arcolab Ltd. of India for a combined $301 million. The shares gained.

The company will divest about 130 drugs to Strides’ Australian business for A$265 million ($209 million), Durban, South Africa-based Aspen said in a statement on Thursday. It will also sell a portfolio of six branded products to Strides Singapore for about $92 million.

“These transactions form part of Aspen’s communicated strategic intent to focus attention in areas where most value can be added and to lessen complexity,” the company said.

Aspen, which supplies medicines in more than 150 countries, is seeking acquisition opportunities, particularly in Asia, and said May 14 it’s in talks to buy a baby-food business to add to the company’s nutrition unit. Earlier this month it agreed to sell a pharmaceutical business to Dublin-based Endo International Plc for about $130 million.

The shares rose as much as 2.3 percent and traded 1.6 percent higher at 381.90 rand as of 10:01 a.m. in Johannesburg, paring the decline this year to 6 percent and valuing the drugmaker at 174 billion rand ($14.7 billion). Strides, based in Bangalore, traded 3.4 percent higher at a one-month high in Mumbai, valuing the company at 68 billion rupees ($1.1 billion).

“The Aspen Australian generic pharmaceutical assets are a valuable and unique platform for Strides to rebuild its business in Australia,” Strides Chief Executive Officer Arun Kumar said in a separate statement. The acquisition will be “immediately” earnings accretive, the company said.

Strides sold its last Australian business to U.S. drugmaker Actavis Plc in 2012.

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