28/02/2011 Bidvest Group CEO Brian Joffe presenting their interim Results at Sandton JHB. (307) Photo: Leon Nicholas

Bidvest has garnered a little more than 2 percent of Adcock Ingram’s issued shares since the conglomerate made an offer to pay R70 per Adcock ordinary share in an effort to prevent Adcock’s takeover by Chilean contender CFR Pharmaceuticals.

Yesterday, a Bidvest spokesman said the company now owned about 9 percent of Adcock’s shares as stockholders had been selling these off since the offer opened.

Bidvest made an all-cash offer on December 2 last year for up to 34.5 percent of the local pharmaceutical firm. Adcock’s share price has hardly moved from R70.41 then to R70.73 at 5pm yesterday.

When Bidvest made its offer, it held approximately 4 percent of Adcock’s issued shares before increasing its stake to 6.8 percent through one of its units on December 6.

The R70 a share offer was made by a consortium comprising Bidvest and Community Investment Holdings, which has a number of investments in the pharmaceutical sector, including Phambili Dismed Group, Sonke Pharmaceuticals and Be-Tabs Pharmaceuticals.

Yesterday Bidvest said it would be closing its offer by February 4, giving Adcock shareholders almost three weeks to decide on whether to sell to their shares.

Jean Pierre Verster at 36One Asset Management said it was still too early to tell whether Bidvest had the support of other Adcock shareholders to increase its stake. As Adcock shares were trading above R70, he said it was most likely that Bidvest had acquired those new shares last year and that there had not been much activity this year pending Adcock’s annual general meeting (AGM).

“The AGM is on January 31, which is before the offer closes. So we might see some action then depending on the outcome of the resolutions tabled in that meeting. It might happen that if some of the resolutions are not passed, some shareholders will get nervous and go to Bidvest.”

He said the announcement of the date on which the offer would close was necessary to drive the process to finalisation and thus reach a conclusion on who would have significant influence at Adcock.

“This unfolding process will be the next chapter of this saga. We might see changes to the board of directors and even management,” Verster said.

Bidvest said its consortium wanted to be in a position where it could deal in Adcock shares with complete flexibility, but continuous delays “exacerbated by the protracted process relating to the offer by CFR” further extended the process of determining Adcock’s future.

Bidvest fell 0.3 percent to R269.51 yesterday. It was at R257.18 when it made the bid.