GlaxoSmithKline set to free up £459m with South African sale

City A.M. Reporter
GLAXOSMITHKLINE said yesterday it planned to reduce its investment in South African drugmaker Aspen Pharmacare by one third, although it would retain a board seat and a significant shareholding.

The sale of up to 28.2m shares could realise some 7.54bn rand (£459m), based on current market prices.

Britain’s biggest drugmaker intends to offload around six per cent of Aspen’s issued share capital through a placing with institutional investors, leaving it with a stake of approximately 13 per cent.

It first bought into in Aspen in 2009, since when Africa’s biggest maker of generic drugs has expanded substantially through a string of deals.

“GSK has a long and successful partnership with Aspen – and our investment in the company has grown in value significantly over time,” Glaxo’s head of strategy David Redfern said in a statement yesterday.

“Having assessed this investment we have now decided to realise some of this value without altering the basis of the partnership. We remain committed to working closely with Aspen as shown by our remaining stake in the company and our board seat.”