Financial Mail - Investors Monthly - - Opening Bell -

Share price: R16,65 JSE code: ASC

HOLD THE COM­PANY LISTED ONLY IN 2013 but since then has been on an ag­gres­sive ac­qui­si­tion spree, bulk­ing up its scale and the spread of op­er­a­tions.

The con­tri­bu­tion of th­ese ac­qui­si­tions comes through clearly in full-year re­sults to end-June. Of the huge 74% climb in rev­enue to R2,8bn, 74% was from ac­qui­si­tions, or­ganic growth counted for 11%, and the rest was from what CE Karsten Well­ner calls “syn­er­gis­tic growth from op­er­a­tions”.

As­cendis, it seems, is not only good at mak­ing ac­qui­si­tions but also at in­te­grat­ing them into one of its three di­vi­sions, where they qui­etly dis­ap­pear and be­come part of the whole. In time, Well­ner says, the ac­quis­i­tive growth will trans­late to or­ganic growth.

The com­pany is also spread­ing its wings in­ter­na­tion­ally. Re­cently it ven­tured into Spain where it bought 49% of Far­malider SA for R210m. It has op­tions to buy the rest of the com­pany over the next five years. As­cendis also ex­ports prod­ucts to 52 coun­tries.

Be­hind the list­ing of As­cendis in 2013 was Coast2Coast, which owns 43% of As­cendis and it­self plans to list in 2017.

The share is trad­ing a frac­tion be­low its high for the year. It might not be the best time to buy. In­stead, in­vestors should watch for any pos­si­ble fu­ture price weak­ness. For those who have the share, hold on and en­joy the ride. As­cendis also pays a de­cent div­i­dend; the to­tal div­i­dend for the financial year was up 27% to 19c/share.

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