Billionaire Christo Wiese may have caused the selloff in Aspen: Saad  

PUBLISHED: Fri, 19 Jan 2018 17:19:37 GMT

Aspen has been in the spotlight on speculation that it could be the next victim of short-sellers Viceroy Research. Aspen’s shares fell 10% in early January on the back of these rumours.

In an exclusive interview with CNBC Africa, Aspen’s CEO Stephen Saad  revealed that Shoprite’s Chairman and Steinhoff’s former Chairman  Christo Wiese’s dumping of between 4-5 million shares may have led to the panic selling of Africa’s biggest generics drugmaker on 9th January 2018. The share price opened the day at R262.08 and closed at R250.13. Taking the average price on the day Wiese sold shares worth over R1 billion (over $82mn).

Wiese, whose liquidity has been squeezed following the obliteration of retailer Steinhoff’s share price on accounting irregularities, has been selling shares in various listed companies.

Read:Billionaire Christo Wiese sells over $80mln in Shoprite shares

Saad also told CNBC Africa’s Bronwyn Nielsen that there is no price sensitive information that management of Aspen Pharmacare Ltd is holding back from the market.

“The only information we have now that the public don’t have is really our results,” said Saad.  Our trading update – we half year December – so our trading update will be in February as it has always been and results will be out on 8th March, he added.

Saad also shed light on his relationship with Jooste. He dispelled rumours that he has bought Jooste’s horses.   “I didn’t even know Markus Jooste had horses,” he said.

“Anyone who knows me well knows there is far more chance of me buying a rhino than there is of me buying a racehorse, Saad added.

He revealed that he and Jooste had sat on the same board for Investec related company – IEP from which Jooste resigned from in December.

IEP is an investment holding company with controlling and strategic scalable interests in a number of companies, such as Assupol and Vumatel.

“I met Markus Jooste twice in those board meetings, and Markus Jooste was actually chairman of those meetings. It is a completely independent investment. It is a personal investment,” said Saad.

“I thought he was really smart, very charming and very down to earth and is charismatic”. I have got nothing negative to say about him out of the two meetings I met Markus Jooste.”

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