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Glaxo increases stake in drug maker to 19%

GLAXOSMITHKLINE has taken a 19 percent stake in Africa's biggest generic drug maker, Aspen Pharmacare, after completing a strategic collaboration with the South African group, the companies said yesterday.

British-based Glaxo had originally said it would have a 16 percent holding when the deal was announced in May, but it has since bought additional Aspen shares.

The asset-swap deal expands Glaxo's emerging market presence - a key objective for chief executive Andrew Witty - and cements an existing relationship between the two businesses.

Aspen has issued 68.5 million new shares to Glaxo in exchange for Glaxo's manufacturing plant in Bad Oldesloe, Germany, and eight specialist medicines.

Taken together with Aspen shares bought by Glaxo between signing and closing, this issue takes Glaxo's holding in Aspen to 81.7 million shares, equivalent to 19 percent.

Abbas Hussain, Glaxo's head of emerging markets, will be appointed to Aspen's board as a non-executive director from next Monday.


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