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Cipla to take reins of South Africa firm

Thursday, 22 November 2012 - 6:17am IST | Place: Mumbai | Agency: DNA
Cipla Medpro, the third-largest pharmaceutical player in South Africa, sources almost 80% of its products from Cipla and has been a sort of captive front end for Cipla. It has a turnover of over $200 million, according to S Radhakrishnan, wholetime director of Cipla Ltd.

Cipla has offered to acquire a 51% stake in Johannesburg Stock Exchange-listed Cipla Medpro South Africa Ltd, which has been marketing its products in the region.
The offer price of 8.55 rand per share, an 11% premium on Cipla Medpro’s closing share price on Tuesday, takes the overall deal value to $220 million.

Cipla Medpro, the third-largest pharmaceutical player in South Africa, sources almost 80% of its products from Cipla and has been a sort of captive front end for Cipla. It has a turnover of over $200 million, according to S Radhakrishnan, wholetime director of Cipla Ltd.

However, the Mumbai-based company does not own any stake in Cipla Medpro as of now.
Radhakrishnan said discussions between the two companies have been on for a while.
Analysts lauded the move as a strategic one, which would give Cipla long-term rather than short-term benefits.

"My understanding is that the acquisition may not necessarily be earnings per share (EPS) accretive. If one draws a parallel between revenues from Cipla’s Africa business and Cipla Medpro’s South Africa business and then compares it with the overall acquisition cost, its impact on Cipla’s EPS is just about 60 paise, which is not very huge. So what Cipla is primarily buying into is Cipla Medpro’s distribution strength in South Africa as part of a forward integration process. Besides, this acquisition will also help Cipla cut costs significantly,” said an analyst with a top domestic brokerage, requesting anonymity.

Cipla plans to fund the deal through internal accruals.
The management is open to more such opportunities, said Radhakrishnan. “At the moment, there is nothing specific on the anvil. However, from a business prospective, we are open to doing what is required for the company’s growth.”

A Reuters report said the agreement was spearheaded by Cipla Medpro’s founder and former chief executive, Jerome Smith, who quit last month following charges of ‘gross misconduct’. There was speculation in the market that Smith’s departure could impact Cipla Medpro’s relationship with the Indian company.

Radhakrishnan, however, denied the events were connected.


 


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