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Adcock takeover may value company at $1.5bn

More attractive to international buyers due to rand weakness – JPMorgan.

Adcock Ingram Holdings (JSE:AIP), South Africa’s largest supplier of hospital products, may gain a further 12% from Thursday’s 30-month high after it got takeover offers, according to JPMorgan Chase & Co.

Adcock’s board has received non-binding proposals that could lead to an offer for the whole company or a controlling stake, the Johannesburg-based maker of Panado painkillers and Corenza cold medicine said on Thursday. The stock rose 8.9% to R67.50 by the close in Johannesburg, its highest level since November 2010, valuing the company at $1.3 billion.

The wording suggests there may be “multiple bids for the company,” JPMorgan analysts Alex Comer and Avinash Kalkapersad wrote in a note dated on Thursday. “Under this scenario, we believe the stock could be worth R75.80 a share based on historic transaction multiples and a bid premium.” That would value Adcock at about $1.46 billion, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The shares were down 0.4% at R67.24 by 2:27 p.m. in Johannesburg.

The approaches probably came from foreign companies as there are no obvious South African bidders other than Bidvest Group, which had an offer for a controlling stake in Adcock rejected in March, Mathew Menezes, an analyst at Avior Research, said by phone from Johannesburg. The latest proposals aren’t from Bidvest, Adcock said in yesterday’s statement. Bidvest is still interested in a bid for Adcock and must get the same information as other bidders, Chief Executive Officer Brian Joffe said on Friday.

Bid values

Adcock has had a marketing and distribution agreement with U.S.-based Merck & Co. to sell non-prescription medicines as well as treatments for high blood pressure since 2010. “Adcock would also offer an acquirer a potential launch pad into the rest of Africa,” JPMorgan’s Comer and Kalkapersad said.

Weakness in the South African rand has also made “Adcock more attractive to potential international buyers,” the JPMorgan analysts wrote. The rand has declined 6.8 percent against the dollar this year, the worst performer of 24 emerging market currencies tracked by Bloomberg.

Adcock shares have gained 6% in the past 12 months, compared with a 72% increase at larger competitor Aspen Pharmacare Holdings (JSE:APN) Ltd., 18.2% owned by Brentford, England-based GlaxoSmithKline Plc.

Weak performance

Adcock has fallen behind Aspen because of “product losses, a previously weak tender performance, insipid over the counter markets and a weak rand,” JPMorgan said.

Bidvest offered to buy 60% of Adcock for about R6.2 billion on March 22. The offer was half in cash, at R65 a share, and half in stock at a ratio of one Bidvest share for every four Adcock shares. The bid values Adcock at 64.94 a share at current prices, 3.4% below the stock’s cost today. Bidvest said last month it would take the offer directly to shareholders in the absence of support from the board.

©2013 Bloomberg News

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