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South Africa's Aspen to sell infant formula unit to Lactalis for $864 million

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South Africa's Aspen to sell infant formula unit to Lactalis for $864 million
FILE PHOTO: Employees walk in front of the entrance of the French dairy group Lactalis headquarters in Laval, western France, January 12, 2018. REUTERS/Stephane Mahe   -   Copyright  Stephane Mahe(Reuters)
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JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – Aspen Pharmacare <APNJ.J> is selling its global infant formula business to French dairy group Lactalis for 12.9 billion rand ($864.5 million), the African drugmaker said in a results statement on Thursday.

The so-called nutritionals business sells infant milk formula in the Asia-Pacific region, Sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America, and has been building a growing presence in the Middle East and China.

“The disposal is in line with our strategic intention to focus our attention on our core pharmaceutical business, which includes the anaesthetics, thrombosis and high potency and cytotoxic portfolios,” Aspen CEO Stephen Saad said in a statement.

“The heightened focus is expected to drive increased business efficiency and performance.”

As part of the transaction, Lactalis will receive any intellectual property and goodwill presently owned by Aspen Holdings and Pharmacare Ltd and Aspen Global Incorporated.

Aspen, which is Africa’s biggest generic drugs manufacturer, will also dispose of tangible assets and shares in companies conducting Aspen’s infant formula business across Asia-Pacific, including shares held by joint venture partners in New Zealand and Hong Kong.

The deal will be funded with cash, Aspen said.

Lactalis is a privately owned global leader in the dairy industry, achieving revenue of 18.4 billion euros (16.4 billion pounds) from sales in more than 200 countries.

(Reporting by Nqobile Dludla; Editing by David Goodman)

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