Aspen sinks to four-month low as volumes surge after Glaxo sells

iStock

Johannesburg - Aspen Pharmacare Holdings [JSE:APN] shares slumped to the lowest in more than four months and trading volumes surged after the UK’s GlaxoSmithKline said it has disposed of the final portion of its stake in Africa’s largest generic drug maker.

The stock fell as much as 3.8% to R304.74, the cheapest since May 20, and traded 2.7% lower at R308.25 as of 10:15 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% of Aspen’s ordinary share capital, to institutional investors for 300 rand each or R8.47bn according to a statement on Thursday.

That was a 5% discount to Aspen’s closing price in Johannesburg on Wednesday of R316.87 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 drug maker's trading relationships and collaboration in South Africa.

Glaxo sold Aspen the anaesthetics portfolio this month for as much as £280m ($364m).

The deal added to the anesthetics Aspen bought in June from AstraZeneca of the UK for as much as $770m. The South African company is also expanding in China.

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