(Reuters) – Aspen Pharmacare , the southern hemisphere’s biggest generic drugs maker, booked a 22 percent rise in first-half profit on Wednesday as strong demand in its Asia-Pacific unit offset higher funding costs on its debt.
Aspen, 19 percent owned by Britain’s GlaxoSmithKline , said diluted normalised headline earnings per share totalled 308.1 cents in the six months to end-December, compared with 253.3 cents a year earlier.
Aspen is one of the companies most likely to benefit as some of best-selling name-brand drugs worth more than $100 billion lose patent protection over the next three years.
Sales increased 31 percent to 7.5 billion rand, with its offshore business adding more to sales than its home market for the first time. Sales at its Asia Pacific unit were three times more than the same period a year earlier.
Durban-based Aspen completed the acquisition of the generic business of Australia’s Sigma Pharmaceuticals last year, boosting its presence in the region.
The company also said it had reached a agreement with the minority shareholders of its east Africa-focused unit, Shelys, to buy their 40 percent holding for $24 million.
Shares in Aspen, which are up more than 11 percent so far this year, were little changed at 107.49 rand by 1135 GMT, lagging a 0.7 percent rise in the JSE Top-40 index.