COMPANY NEWS IN BRIEF

Aspen bulks up footprint in China

South Africa's biggest pharmaceutical group, Aspen Pharmacare, has agreed to buy the Chinese subsidiary of Swiss drugmaker Sandoz for €92.6 million (R1.88 billion).

The acquisition brings a portfolio of products, including Sandostatin, which treats hormonal disorders; Aclasta, which is used to treat osteoporosis; and Voriconazole, used to treat fungal and yeast infections.

The acquisition also includes a pipeline of new products for the short-to-medium term, with €18.5 million of the acquisition price dependent on the performance of these drugs. The transaction still needs approval from competition authorities in China and is expected to conclude in the second quarter of 2024.

Aspen, valued at R83.8 billion on the JSE, has made clear it was looking to diversify its portfolio in China in order to mitigate the risk from that country's volume-based-procurement model. This has meant a centralised procurement process and large volumes of orders, as well as lower prices, with Aspen saying it was looking to respond by adding more drugs.

Beyond this, it also represents an attractive opportunity for Aspen to take a major step in its stated objective of increasing its presence in China, the group said.-Fin24



Nampak reports R4 billion loss

Nampak, which is in the middle of a turnaround under new management, has reported a R4 billion full-year loss as South Africa’s largest packaging group grappled with foreign exchange losses in Nigeria and increasing competition.

But there appeared to be some green shoots showing under new CEO Phil Roux, with the group’s Bevcan South Africa operation performing strongly to improve its trading profit by 28%, and its DivFood returning to profitability with an "improvement of R77 million in its trading profit".

The company’s trading profit also increased 2% to R1.6 billion, while cash generated from operations also came in at R1.6 billion, a 95% improvement before working capital changes were taken into account.

Nampak, however, booked a total loss of almost R4 billion, from a profit of R19 million in the prior year.

The company’s revenue, meanwhile, declined by 2% to R16.6 billion with volume reductions primarily in its operations Bevcan Nigeria, DivFood and Bevcan SA.-Fin24

ADvTECH's Roy Douglas to retire

ADvTECH CEO Roy Douglas will retire from the JSE-listed private education group at the end of February next year after a decade at the helm.

The owner of brands such as Trinityhouse and Crawford said in a statement on Monday that Geoff Whyte, Nando’s CEO for Africa, the Middle East and Asia, would be taking over the top position from 1 March 2024.

ADvTECH said Douglas would remain with the company for a "suitable period after he steps off the board to ensure a seamless handover".

The company, valued at just over R13 billion on the JSE, paid tribute to Douglas, saying that he had successfully led ADvTECH through its expansion strategy, resulting in the company "becoming the leading private education and recruitment group across the continent".

"He [Douglas] has refocused the educational divisions brand portfolios into well positioned brands with distinct value offerings. This, together with a focus on effectiveness and efficiencies, resulted in a solid competitive advantage, and an agile and adaptive business model."-Fin24

Capital Appreciation maintains dividend

Fintech and software group Capital Appreciation maintained its interim dividend as earnings held up despite a difficult economic backdrop.

Revenue rose 3% to R554.2 million in the six months ended 30 September 2023, while headline earnings more than doubled to R80.6 million, partly benefiting from a three-month contribution from recently acquired Dariel Solutions. Cash from operations climbed 55% from the prior corresponding period to R159.9 million, allowing for an interim dividend of 4.25 cents per share, equal to the shareholder distribution in the previous half-year.

"Our continued investment in growth-related initiatives, including additional skills, new technology solutions, developing proprietary owned software and international expansion has positioned the group well to meet this demand," Capital Appreciation CEO Bradley Sacks said in a statement on Monday announcing the group’s half-year results.

"We believe that considerable opportunities for growth in the medium- and long-term exist and we are confident that performance in the second half of the year will exceed that of the first half.”-Fin24

Prosus eyes next wave of growth from AI

Prosus Ventures, the venture capital arm of Prosus, is eyeing the massive potential of software-as-a-service (SaaS) in India as one of the most likely places it will find tech startups poised for a wave of growth.

The group says it already has stakes that could prove beneficial, given the world's fifth-largest economy appears to be on the cusp of a consumer boom. This is being driven by a double-digit nominal GDP growth rate and tailwinds from what it says are supportive government policies.

Prosus listed on the Euronext Amsterdam exchange and the JSE, and the interests of Naspers outside of South Africa, including stakes in Tencent as well as food delivery service Swiggy – one-half of India's delivery duopoly – India's largest edtech BYJU, as well as Eruditus – which focuses on executive education.

These are part of its broader business, with Prosus Ventures incorporating stakes in businesses including retailer Meesho – India's third largest by transaction value – home services business Urban Company and agribusinesses including DeHaat, which connects farmers to buyers and suppliers on a single app. -Fin24



SA airline sued Boeing for US$83 million

Shuttered local airline Comair has asked a US court to toss out a breach of contract claim brought against it by Boeing, saying the claim should be barred because the US aeronautics giant allegedly engaged in fraud and intentional misrepresentation.

Comair and Boeing have both made claims for damages against the other in an ongoing US court case linked to Comair's decision to terminate a multi-million-rand order for eight 737 MAX aircraft.

Comair cancelled the order in February 2020, in the wake of two fatal 737 MAX crashes that made global headlines. At that time, it had received only one of the eight aircraft on order.

South Africa's oldest private airline, which is in provisional liquidation, asked a US court to award it "at least" US$83 million in damages. It argued that Boeing had "placed profits over safety and led with a plan of deception" and cut corners in a "rush" to get its 737 MAX to market.

Boeing, which has denied wrongdoing, has said its own breach of contract counterclaim should cancel out any of Comair's damages.-Fin24

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H.E. Dr Nangolo Mbumba, President of the Republic of Namibia says they will continue to pursue the second struggle of Namibia Zambian President, Hakainde Hichilema said one road will be named after the late president in Lusaka and the other road will be named after the founding president of Namibia The late President Hage Geingob’s casket was stationed at the Eternal Flame before he was taken to his final resting place The casket will of the late president was lowered with a 21 gun salute Accoutrements will be handed over to the former first lady of Monica Geingos An official luncheon by invitation is scheduled to take place at 14:00 at the State House The foreign dignataries are currently paying their last tribute to the former first lady, Monica Geingos Heroes Acre will be closed to the public, the National Council will announce once it is reopenedSix Nations: Scotland 30 vs 21 England | Ireland 31 vs 7 Wales Premier League: Arsenal 4 vs 1 Newcastle | Bournemouth 0 vs 1 Manchester City | Brighton 1 vs 1 Everton | Crystal Palace 3 vs 0 Burnley | Aston Villa 4 vs 2 Forest | Manchester United 1 vs 2 Fulham | Chelsea 0 vs 0 Tottenham Hotspur LaLiga: Almería 2 vs 2 Atletico Madrid | Deportivo Alaves 1 vs 1 Mallorca | Barcelona 4 vs 0 Getafe | Granada 0 vs 0 Valencia | Real Sociedad 1 vs 3 Villarreal SerieA: Juventus 3 vs 2 Frosinone | Genoa 2 vs 0 Udinese | Salernitana 0 vs 2 Monza | Sassuolo 2 vs 3 Empoli | Bologna 2 vs 0 Hellas Verona | Torino 0 vs 2 SS Lazio European Championships Qualifying: Watford 1 vs 2 Huddersfield Town | Ipswich Town 3 vs 1 Birmingham City | Sunderland 1 vs 2 Swansea City | Blackburn Rovers 1 vs 1 Norwich City | Southampton 1 vs 2 Millwall FC | Cardiff City 2 vs 1 Stoke City | Queens Park Rangers 2 vs 1 Rotherham United | Sheffield Wednesday 2 vs 1 Bristol City | Middlesbrough 0 vs 2 Plymouth Argyle | Hull City 1 vs 1 West Bromwich Albion | Leeds United 3 vs 1 Leicester City | Coventry City 0 vs 3 Preston North End English Championship: Watford 1 vs 2 Huddersfield Town | Ipswich Town 3 vs 1 Birmingham City | Sunderland 1 vs 2 Swansea City | Blackburn Rovers 1 vs 1 Norwich City | Southampton 1 vs 2 Millwall FC | Cardiff City 2 vs 1 Stoke City | Queens Park Rangers 2 vs 1 Rotherham United | Sheffield Wednesday 2 vs 1 Bristol City | Middlesbrough 0 vs 2 Plymouth Argyle | Hull City 1 vs 1 West Bromwich Albion | Leeds United 3 vs 1 Leicester City | Coventry City 0 vs 3 Preston North End Katima Mulilo: 22° | 41° Rundu: 22° | 40° Eenhana: 22° | 37° Oshakati: 23° | 36° Ruacana: 19° | 36° Tsumeb: 24° | 37° Otjiwarongo: 22° | 34° Omaruru: 21° | 36° Windhoek: 22° | 32° Gobabis: 22° | 35° Henties Bay: 16° | 19° Wind speed: 21km/h, Wind direction: S, Low tide: 10:10, High tide: 04:15, Low Tide: 22:13, High tide: 16:26 Swakopmund: 16° | 17° Wind speed: 25km/h, Wind direction: SW, Low tide: 10:08, High tide: 04:13, Low Tide: 22:11, High tide: 16:24 Walvis Bay: 16° | 21° Wind speed: 30km/h, Wind direction: SW, Low tide: 10:08, High tide: 04:12, Low Tide: 22:11, High tide: 16:23 Rehoboth: 20° | 34° Mariental: 20° | 36° Keetmanshoop: 19° | 35° Aranos: 20° | 36° Lüderitz: 14° | 30° Ariamsvlei: 16° | 34° Oranjemund: 13° | 26° Luanda: 26° | 28° Gaborone: 21° | 39° Lubumbashi: 18° | 26° Mbabane: 14° | 20° Maseru: 10° | 32° Antananarivo: 15° | 27° Lilongwe: 18° | 30° Maputo: 21° | 26° Windhoek: 22° | 32° Cape Town: 16° | 25° Durban: 18° | 22° Johannesburg: 19° | 32° Dar es Salaam: 27° | 33° Lusaka: 18° | 34° Harare: 18° | 33° Currency: GBP to NAD 24.4 | EUR to NAD 20.87 | CNY to NAD 2.68 | USD to NAD 19.28 | DZD to NAD 0.14 | AOA to NAD 0.02 | BWP to NAD 1.35 | EGP to NAD 0.62 | KES to NAD 0.13 | NGN to NAD 0.01 | ZMW to NAD 0.83 | ZWL to NAD 0.04 | BRL to NAD 3.86 | RUB to NAD 0.21 | INR to NAD 0.23 | USD to DZD 134.44 | USD to AOA 828.51 | USD to BWP 13.77 | USD to EGP 30.85 | USD to KES 144.98 | USD to NGN 1488.4 | USD to ZAR 19.29 | USD to ZMW 22.95 | USD to ZWL 321 | Stock Exchange: JSE All Share Index 74213.39 Up +0.14% | Namibian Stock Exchange (NSX) Overall Index 1551.37 Up +0.01% | Casablanca Stock Exchange (CSE) MASI 13083.17 Up +0.74% | Egyptian Exchange (EGX) 30 Index 29309.73 Up +0.06% | Botswana Stock Exchange (BSE) DCI 9001.84 Same 0 | NSX: MTC 7.75 SAME | Anirep 8.99 SAME | Capricorn Investment group 17.34 SAME | FirstRand Namibia Ltd 49 DOWN 0.50% | Letshego Holdings (Namibia) Ltd 4.1 UP 2.50% | Namibia Asset Management Ltd 0.7 SAME | Namibia Breweries Ltd 31.49 UP 0.03% | Nictus Holdings - Nam 2.22 SAME | Oryx Properties Ltd 12.1 UP 1.70% | Paratus Namibia Holdings 11.99 SAME | SBN Holdings 8.45 SAME | Trustco Group Holdings Ltd 0.48 SAME | B2Gold Corporation 47.34 DOWN 1.50% | Local Index closed 677.62 UP 0.12% | Overall Index closed 1534.6 DOWN 0.05% | Osino Resources Corp 19.47 DOWN 2.41% | Commodities: Gold US$ 2 035.38/OZ UP +0.52% | Copper US$ 3.86/lb DOWN -0.0073 | Zinc US$ 2 432.00/T UP 0.13% | Brent Crude Oil US$ 81.72/BBP DOWN -0.0194 | Platinum US$ 900.85/OZ DOWN -0.0011 Sport results: H.E. Dr Nangolo Mbumba, President of the Republic of Namibia says they will continue to pursue the second struggle of Namibia Zambian President, Hakainde Hichilema said one road will be named after the late president in Lusaka and the other road will be named after the founding president of Namibia The late President Hage Geingob’s casket was stationed at the Eternal Flame before he was taken to his final resting place The casket will of the late president was lowered with a 21 gun salute Accoutrements will be handed over to the former first lady of Monica Geingos An official luncheon by invitation is scheduled to take place at 14:00 at the State House The foreign dignataries are currently paying their last tribute to the former first lady, Monica Geingos Heroes Acre will be closed to the public, the National Council will announce once it is reopenedSix Nations: Scotland 30 vs 21 England | Ireland 31 vs 7 Wales Premier League: Arsenal 4 vs 1 Newcastle | Bournemouth 0 vs 1 Manchester City | Brighton 1 vs 1 Everton | Crystal Palace 3 vs 0 Burnley | Aston Villa 4 vs 2 Forest | Manchester United 1 vs 2 Fulham | Chelsea 0 vs 0 Tottenham Hotspur LaLiga: Almería 2 vs 2 Atletico Madrid | Deportivo Alaves 1 vs 1 Mallorca | Barcelona 4 vs 0 Getafe | Granada 0 vs 0 Valencia | Real Sociedad 1 vs 3 Villarreal SerieA: Juventus 3 vs 2 Frosinone | Genoa 2 vs 0 Udinese | Salernitana 0 vs 2 Monza | Sassuolo 2 vs 3 Empoli | Bologna 2 vs 0 Hellas Verona | Torino 0 vs 2 SS Lazio European Championships Qualifying: Watford 1 vs 2 Huddersfield Town | Ipswich Town 3 vs 1 Birmingham City | Sunderland 1 vs 2 Swansea City | Blackburn Rovers 1 vs 1 Norwich City | Southampton 1 vs 2 Millwall FC | Cardiff City 2 vs 1 Stoke City | Queens Park Rangers 2 vs 1 Rotherham United | Sheffield Wednesday 2 vs 1 Bristol City | Middlesbrough 0 vs 2 Plymouth Argyle | Hull City 1 vs 1 West Bromwich Albion | Leeds United 3 vs 1 Leicester City | Coventry City 0 vs 3 Preston North End English Championship: Watford 1 vs 2 Huddersfield Town | Ipswich Town 3 vs 1 Birmingham City | Sunderland 1 vs 2 Swansea City | Blackburn Rovers 1 vs 1 Norwich City | Southampton 1 vs 2 Millwall FC | Cardiff City 2 vs 1 Stoke City | Queens Park Rangers 2 vs 1 Rotherham United | Sheffield Wednesday 2 vs 1 Bristol City | Middlesbrough 0 vs 2 Plymouth Argyle | Hull City 1 vs 1 West Bromwich Albion | Leeds United 3 vs 1 Leicester City | Coventry City 0 vs 3 Preston North End Weather: Katima Mulilo: 22° | 41° Rundu: 22° | 40° Eenhana: 22° | 37° Oshakati: 23° | 36° Ruacana: 19° | 36° Tsumeb: 24° | 37° Otjiwarongo: 22° | 34° Omaruru: 21° | 36° Windhoek: 22° | 32° Gobabis: 22° | 35° Henties Bay: 16° | 19° Wind speed: 21km/h, Wind direction: S, Low tide: 10:10, High tide: 04:15, Low Tide: 22:13, High tide: 16:26 Swakopmund: 16° | 17° Wind speed: 25km/h, Wind direction: SW, Low tide: 10:08, High tide: 04:13, Low Tide: 22:11, High tide: 16:24 Walvis Bay: 16° | 21° Wind speed: 30km/h, Wind direction: SW, Low tide: 10:08, High tide: 04:12, Low Tide: 22:11, High tide: 16:23 Rehoboth: 20° | 34° Mariental: 20° | 36° Keetmanshoop: 19° | 35° Aranos: 20° | 36° Lüderitz: 14° | 30° Ariamsvlei: 16° | 34° Oranjemund: 13° | 26° Luanda: 26° | 28° Gaborone: 21° | 39° Lubumbashi: 18° | 26° Mbabane: 14° | 20° Maseru: 10° | 32° Antananarivo: 15° | 27° Lilongwe: 18° | 30° Maputo: 21° | 26° Windhoek: 22° | 32° Cape Town: 16° | 25° Durban: 18° | 22° Johannesburg: 19° | 32° Dar es Salaam: 27° | 33° Lusaka: 18° | 34° Harare: 18° | 33° Economic Indicators: Currency: GBP to NAD 24.4 | EUR to NAD 20.87 | CNY to NAD 2.68 | USD to NAD 19.28 | DZD to NAD 0.14 | AOA to NAD 0.02 | BWP to NAD 1.35 | EGP to NAD 0.62 | KES to NAD 0.13 | NGN to NAD 0.01 | ZMW to NAD 0.83 | ZWL to NAD 0.04 | BRL to NAD 3.86 | RUB to NAD 0.21 | INR to NAD 0.23 | USD to DZD 134.44 | USD to AOA 828.51 | USD to BWP 13.77 | USD to EGP 30.85 | USD to KES 144.98 | USD to NGN 1488.4 | USD to ZAR 19.29 | USD to ZMW 22.95 | USD to ZWL 321 | Stock Exchange: JSE All Share Index 74213.39 Up +0.14% | Namibian Stock Exchange (NSX) Overall Index 1551.37 Up +0.01% | Casablanca Stock Exchange (CSE) MASI 13083.17 Up +0.74% | Egyptian Exchange (EGX) 30 Index 29309.73 Up +0.06% | Botswana Stock Exchange (BSE) DCI 9001.84 Same 0 | NSX: MTC 7.75 SAME | Anirep 8.99 SAME | Capricorn Investment group 17.34 SAME | FirstRand Namibia Ltd 49 DOWN 0.50% | Letshego Holdings (Namibia) Ltd 4.1 UP 2.50% | Namibia Asset Management Ltd 0.7 SAME | Namibia Breweries Ltd 31.49 UP 0.03% | Nictus Holdings - Nam 2.22 SAME | Oryx Properties Ltd 12.1 UP 1.70% | Paratus Namibia Holdings 11.99 SAME | SBN Holdings 8.45 SAME | Trustco Group Holdings Ltd 0.48 SAME | B2Gold Corporation 47.34 DOWN 1.50% | Local Index closed 677.62 UP 0.12% | Overall Index closed 1534.6 DOWN 0.05% | Osino Resources Corp 19.47 DOWN 2.41% | Commodities: Gold US$ 2 035.38/OZ UP +0.52% | Copper US$ 3.86/lb DOWN -0.0073 | Zinc US$ 2 432.00/T UP 0.13% | Brent Crude Oil US$ 81.72/BBP DOWN -0.0194 | Platinum US$ 900.85/OZ DOWN -0.0011