JOHANNESBURG - Debt-laden Ascendis Health is in the process of divesting in the last assets of its biosciences division on the heels of its disposal for R480million of its Afrikelp, Efekto and Marltons businesses earlier this year. 

The biosciences division, Avima and Klub M5, was considered as non-core to the group’s strategy and was accordingly identified for divestment. In a Sens notice yesterday, Ascendis informed shareholders they would be updated of further developments in the group’s final divestment from the division. 

“All conditions precedent, which included approval from the competition board, to the transaction have been fulfilled and the transaction has become unconditional,” the group said. 

Ascendis, whose health care brands include Solal and Bettaway, in March indicated that its net bank debt had climbed from R4.8billion to R5.3bn in the six months to December, due to rand weakness and efforts to stem the tide with short-term loans. 

The group’s precarious financial perch has forced it to consider selling what analysts term its crown jewel, the Cyprus-based pharmaceuticals maker Remedica, which accounts for a third of its earnings. 

BUSINESS REPORT