Bidvest, PIC in talks to control half of Adcock

Pills and capsules from Shutterstock.
Pills and capsules from Shutterstock.
Nenov Brothers Images

Johannesburg  - Bidvest Group [JSE:BVT] is in talks with a fellow shareholder in Adcock Ingram [JSE:AIP], the Public Investment Corporation (PIC), to jointly control nearly half of the struggling drugmaker, it said on Wednesday.

The PIC, which manages about $120bn in government employees' pensions, and Bidvest would each contribute their 41 million shares, or about 24% stakes, into the proposed pool agreement to control about 48% of Adcock.

Bidvest owns just over a third of Adcock and the PIC holds about 26%, according Thomson Reuters data.

Bidvest, a group spanning car showrooms, shipping and catering, would be responsible for the management of Adcock in the proposed pool agreement.

Bidvest has been trying to take control of Adcock since 2013, seeing an opportunity to turn around an underperforming company and add painkillers and cough syrups to its range of products.

Last month it offered R52 per share for the stock it does not already own in Adcock, but Bidvest's chief executive Brian Joffe said the PIC was unlikely to accept the offer.

Shares in Adcock were trading at R52.56, up 1.3%, while Bidvest was flat at R325.65.

Last year, Bidvest sank a R12.8bn, or R74.5/share, takeover offer for Adcock from CFR by building a blocking stake that gave it the current holding.

Adcock is trailing rivals as it struggles with slowing sales, over-reliance on a heavily regulated home market and factories that are running below capacity.

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