Aspen Sinks to Four-Month Low as Volumes Surge After Glaxo Sells

  • Glaxo sold 6.2% stake in South African drugmaker at discount
  • About 4 million shares traded, or 3.1 times 3-month daily avg

Aspen Pharmacare Holdings Ltd. shares slumped to the lowest in more than four months and trading volumes surged after the U.K.’s GlaxoSmithKline Plc said it has disposed of the final portion of its stake in Africa’s largest generic drugmaker.

The stock fell as much as 3.8 percent to 304.74 rand, the cheapest since May 20, and traded 2.7 percent lower at 308.25 rand as of 10:15 a.m. in Johannesburg. More than 5.9 million shares were traded, equivalent to almost five times the three-month daily average.

Glaxo sold 28.2 million shares, equal to 6.2 percent of Aspen’s ordinary share capital, to institutional investors for 300 rand each or 8.47 billion rand ($619 million), according to a statement on Thursday. That was a 5 percent discount to Aspen’s closing price in Johannesburg on Wednesday of 316.87 rand. Glaxo sold the same number of shares in 2013 and 2015.

The disposal ends Glaxo’s seven years as a shareholder in the Durban-based company, although Aspen Chief Executive Officer Stephen Saad said the deal wouldn’t affect the drugmakers’s trading relationships and collaboration in South Africa.

Glaxo sold Aspen the anesthetics portfolio this month for as much as 280 million pounds ($364 million). The deal added to the anesthetics Aspen bought in June from AstraZeneca Plc of the U.K. for as much as $770 million. The South African company is also expanding in China.

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