/ 3 March 2010

Aspen first-half profit up

Aspen Pharmacare, Africa’s biggest generic drug-maker, posted a 27% rise in first-half profit from continuing operations, boosted by a strong performance from its South African business.

Aspen, 19% owned by Britain’s GlaxoSmithKline, said on Wednesday headline EPS from continuing operations rose to 242,3 cents in the six months to end-December, at the top end of its forecast range of a 20% to 30% increase.

The company, which supplies more than 50% of the life-prolonging HIV/Aids drugs to state-run hospitals in South Africa, said the results were boosted by robust volume growth and margin improvement in the country’s operations.

Revenue was up 10% to R4,6-billion and operating profit increased 16% to R1,3-billion.

Aspen, one of the top 20 generic drug-makers worldwide, said future profits in the South African business would be negatively affected by health authorities’ delay to grant product price increases. South Africa regulates the price of medicines.

But the company expects its Asia-Pacific business — where it is investigating growth opportunities — to deliver “excellent” results and the company’s restructuring plan to boost its Latin American business. — Reuters