“Our present investments are more in the consumer brands division however we have an acquisition running on the pharmaceutical side which will move us from preventative to intervention health care,” Wellner, Chief Executive Officer of Ascendis Health told CNBC Africa on Thursday.
Wellner was unable to release the name of the pharmaceutical company at this stage as they are still under non-disclosure. The acquisition is currently undergoing the process of due diligence.
“When we acquire businesses we normally try to lump them together in the press releases because the sellers of the businesses aren’t comfortable publicly announcing the value of each individual acquisition”, explained Wellner.
This is evident in Ascendis’s recent press releases which announced two acquisitions per press release.
In June 2013 press release, Ascendis acquired the global derma-cosmeceuticals (skincare) company Nimue Skin Technology as well as the nutritional supplements brand, Scientific Sports Nutrition (SSN) for 120 million rand.
The second press release issued in July 2013 announced Ascendis’s largest acquisition of the anti-ageing company, Solal Technologies as well as pet health group, Marltons, worth around 300 million rand.
With these acquisitions, the company will employ close to 800 people with annual sales of around 1.5 billion rand.
Going forward, these figures will no longer be kept confidential as Wellner stated that they have plans to list Ascendis on the main board of the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) [DATA JSE:JSE LTD.] later this year.
“We think that it’s the right time for a new player to enter market, which is not a typical health care player. That is why we are focusing on the acquisitions of strong brands in health and care,” said Wellner.
He also pointed out that the some of their businesses are not typical health brands, such as Marltons and Nimue Skin so that Ascendis are not seen as a classical health player in the market.
“We are trying to play between the consumer brands division and the Medical Control Council registered products. This is what makes us different to other health care companies listed on the JSE,” added Wellner.
Wellner said that Ascendis focuses on acquiring strong brands in the vicinity of human, animal and plant healthcare companies. However, the brand has to already have been well established as a strong leader within its market.
Another important aspect, which Wellner believes differentiates Ascendis from other healthcare companies, is Ascendis only acquires South African companies.
“If you look at the healthcare sector, a lot of products are imported whereas we are taking South African brands and selling them outside of South Africa,” he said.
Wellner stated that Nimue Skin already had an estimated 28 international distributors and that they are looking to repeat that success with their other brands.
“Our business model doesn’t look for short term gains. We have a long term approach where we build an operational business with strong brands,” he added.
Wellner concluded that Ascendis is currently the second largest company in the health and care market and that he is certain that their position will reflect the same positivity once listed on the South African stock market.