Ascendis well positioned for Covid-19


Ascendis well positioned for Covid-19

Published Date: 2020-12-02 | Source: Stephen Gunnion | Author: Stephen Gunnion

Ascendis well positioned for Covid-19

The pharmaceuticals group says its drugs and hospital equipment should offset the negative commercial impact of the pandemic.

Ascendis Health says its diversified portfolio of health and wellness products will help offset the impact of Covid-19, providing a defence against the pandemic as it continues to sell-non core assets to repair its balance sheet.

In a business update ahead of its annual general meeting, the pharmaceuticals group said several of its businesses were well positioned to ensure that chronic co-morbidities were managed through the manufacture and supply of anti-retro virals (ARVs), oncology and anti-infective treatments, as well as providing hospital equipment including ventilators and respirators. Apart from offsetting the negative commercial impact of Covid-19, it said it was playing a meaningful part in combating the spread of the virus.

Meanwhile, it said it remained committed to addressing its capital structure and reducing debt on its balance sheet through the disposal of some businesses. In September, it said it had appointed advisers on key proposed asset sales, including Remedica after the sale of the Cyprus-based business fell through last year. Over the past year, it has disposed of Scitec International in Hungary for R100 million and Ascendis Direct Selling for R10.5 million, using the proceeds to reduce debt. In September, it said it had reached a deal to sell Dezzo Trading. The business procures and sells generic pharmaceuticals and over-the-counter products to government hospitals, dispensing doctors and the private sector

The group's lenders have already agreed to extend the repayment obligations on its debt facility to next December, with no payments required in advance of that date other than any excess cash which will be swept to the lenders. It also raised R100 million ahead of concluding the refinance to fund the distribution of ventilation equipment and respiratory interventions which were, and remain, fundamental in the treatment of Covid-19.

Its shares rose 2.6% to 79c yesterday.

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