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Ascendis CEO reveals health firm’s cocktail for success – fin24.com

Cape Town - Multinational health and care company Ascendis Health [JSE:ASC] is looking for the right acquisition in Africa outside of South Africa, CEO Dr Karsten Wellner told Fin24.

The company announced its interim results for the six months until the end of December 2016 on Wednesday.

"Africa is a very important strategy for us. We are following an organic growth strategy in Africa, working with agents and distributors," said Wellner.

The company follows a different strategy regarding acquisitions in South Africa compared to Europe, he added.

"In Europe we are looking for platform companies, while in SA we look for bolt-on businesses like our recent Cipla acquisitions," Wellner told Fin24. "We still have a pipeline in SA of bolt-on acquisitions."

Wellner further said he is happy with the shareholding of Ascendis as far as black economic empowerment (BEE), international shareholders and women shareholders are concerned. International shareholding, for instance, is at 17% now compared to 5% a year ago. Currently, about 41% of sales come from Europe and 59% from Africa.

"Diversification is a huge advantage for us as it de-risks the business," said Wellner. At the same time forex put some pressure on the company's Pharma-Med division, he added, though the medical device division performed above expectation in his view.

In its continued quest to create synergies, Wellner said there are currently a number such projects the company is working on.

"Internationalisation and earning foreign revenue is one of the pillars of our success. We succeed through diversification of the mix of our revenue streams, diversified geography and diverse products," he explained. "We did not wait for Nenegate to go overseas. We already did so since 2013."

He is confident that Ascendis could announce more acquisitions towards the end of 2017

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