Sale of Aspen milk formula business approved

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Aspen Pharmacare said on Friday the sale of its New Zealand infant-formula business to French company Lactalis International has been approved by authorities.

The company announced it had received confirmation from Lactalis that the New Zealand Overseas Investment Office has granted the approval.

“All conditions precedent requiring third party consents and approvals for the divestment by Aspen of its Nutritionals Business to Lactalis have now been fulfilled, with the remaining conditions precedent being within the control of the parties,” said a statement.  The company said the parties were committed to closing the deal on May 31.

Bloomberg earlier reported that the $830-million transaction would help Africa's largest drugmaker slash debt, and that the company is weighing the sale of some European units once the transaction is completed.

Lactalis is owned by the three billionaire Besnier brothers, agreed to pay €740m, or about 40 times earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortisation for the baby milk business, according to Bloomberg.

Aspen  [JSE:APN] shares on Friday morning were trading at R110.55, up 6.1%.

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