Aspen falls most in five years

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Pharma REUTERS A pharmacist counts pills in a pharmacy.

Johannesburg - Aspen Pharmacare, Africa’s largest generic-drugs maker, fell the most in more than five years in Johannesburg after management said second-half trading was weaker, according to Avior Research.

The shares declined 6.2 percent, the most since April 2009, to 288 rand by the close, paring the gain this year to 7.2 percent and valuing the company at 131.4 billion rand.

“The company guided for a softer second half in South Africa because of government tender volumes that were lower than anticipated,” Mathew Menezes, an analyst at Johannesburg-based Avior who was on the call, said by phone today.

Aspen also reported a “disappointing second half in South America because of problems with the supply chain.”

Aspen supplies medicines in more than 150 countries and last year bought injectable thrombosis brands, including a manufacturing site and inventory, from London-based GlaxoSmithKline Plc for 700 million pounds ($1.2 billion).

A phone call to Aspen’s Johannesburg headquarters outside regular office hours wasn’t answered.

The company’s second half runs through June 30.

Greg Lan, a director for Aspen Asia Pacific (Pty) Ltd, sold 24,479 shares yesterday for 7.6 million rand, Aspen said in a statement today.

Trevor Ziman, another director at the same unit, sold 12,000 units for 3.7 million rand.

Menezes said he considered the setbacks to be “temporary” and that the company’s long-term prospects were good. - Bloomberg News

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