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Aspen increases revenue from continuing operations by 12% to R37,8 billion

Johannesburg – JSE Limited listed Aspen Pharmacare Holdings Limited (APN), a global multinational specialty pharmaceutical company, is pleased to report the following salient financial results for the year ended 30 June 2021:

  • Revenue from continuing operations increased by 12% to R37,8 billion (June 2020: R33,7 billion*);
  • Normalised EBITDA from continuing operations increased by 3% to R9,9 billion (June 2020: R9,6 billion*);
  • Normalised headline earnings per share from continuing operations increased by 10% to 1 309,7 cents (June 2020: 1 194,8 cents*);
  • Headline earnings per share from continuing operations increased by 21% to 1 204,3 cents (June 2020: 998,1 cents*);
  • Earnings per share from continuing operations increased by 42% to 1 051,1 cents (June 2020: 740,5 cents*);
  • Total Headline earnings per share decreased by 15% to 1 119,1 cents (June 2020: 1 322,1 cents);
  • Total Earnings per share increased by 3% to 1 052,9 cents (June 2020: 1 021,8 cents);
  • Net Borrowings declined materially to R16,3 billion (from R35,2 billion at June 2020);
  • The leverage ratio, for banking covenant measurement purposes, of 1.7x is significantly below the threshold of 3.5x;
  • Strong operating cash flow conversion rate of 134% aided by a reduction in working capital for the second consecutive year; and
  • Resumption of dividends to shareholders of 262 cents per ordinary share (June 2020: no dividend declared or paid).

*The prior year comparatives for continuing operations have been restated to include the discontinued European business within discontinued operations in compliance with IFRS 5. The discontinued European business comprises the European Thrombosis assets divested to Mylan until the date of disposal being 27 November 2020, the costs relating to its disposal, related Thrombosis product discontinuations and other product divestments.

COMMENTARY

GROUP HIGHLIGHTS (CONTINUING OPERATIONS)

The commencement of production of COVID-19 vaccines at our Gqeberha manufacturing site in South Africa has been the stand-out achievement in a successful year for Aspen. Johnson & Johnson and Aspen are in discussions to evaluate the further expansion of capacity at the Gqeberha site to enable increased COVID-19 vaccine production, including a possible license for Africa.

For the full twelve months, the Group has also continued providing reliable supply of its medicines and products globally despite the ongoing challenges imposed by COVID-19.

Group revenue increased 12% to R37,8 billion, with Commercial Pharmaceuticals up 6% and Manufacturing advancing 36%. Normalised EBITDA was 3% higher at R9,9 billion, as a lower gross profit percentage and reduced other operating income were partially offset by well controlled operating expenses. Normalised headline earnings per share (“NHEPS”) increased 10% to R13,10, benefitting from reduced finance costs.

Net borrowings declined materially to R16,3 billion as at 30 June 2021, from R35,2 billion in the prior year. The reduction in net borrowings was driven by the cash consideration from the completion of the divestment of the European Thrombosis business, strong operating cash flows and the benefit of a stronger ZAR relative to the EUR and AUD at year-end. The leverage ratio1[1], as at 30 June 2021, is 1,74 times, well below the 3,5 times banking covenant.

The table below compares performance from continuing operations in the prior comparable period at reported exchange rates and then at constant exchange rates (“CER”). The difference between reported and CER revenue growth has narrowed since the first half results as a result of the ZAR strengthening during the second half of the current financial year against the majority of the other currencies in which Aspen trades.

Continuing operationsReported FY 2021 R’millionRestated FY 2020 R’million^Change at reported rates %Change at CER# %
Revenue37 77633 6591210
Normalised EBITDA*9 9459 61231
NHEPS** (cents)1309,71 194,8107

#CER removes the currency effect on performance. FY2020 reported results was recalculated at FY 2021 average exchange rates. This provides illustrative comparability with the current year’s reported performance.

^FY 2020 has been restated as a result of the discontinued operations

*Normalised EBITDA represents operating profit before depreciation and amortisation adjusted for specific non-trading items as defined in the Group’s accounting policy

** NHEPS is HEPS adjusted for specific non-trading items, being transaction costs and other acquisition and disposal-related gains or losses, restructuring costs, settlement of product related litigation costs, net monetary adjustments and currency devaluations relating to hyperinflationary economies and significant once-off tax provision charges or credits arising from the resolution of prior year tax matters.

DISCONTINUED OPERATIONS

Discontinued operations for the year ended 30 June 2021 comprise the results of the European Thrombosis business to date of disposal (being 27 November 2020), the costs relating to its disposal, related Thrombosis product discontinuations, other product divestments and the residual costs related to prior period disposals. Discontinued operations in the prior period include the results of the operations classified as discontinued in the current period as well as those discontinued in the prior financial year.

SEGMENTAL PERFORMANCE

Commercial Pharmaceuticals

Commercial Pharmaceuticals, comprising of Aspen’s Regional Brands and Sterile Focus Brands, grew revenue by 6% (+4% CER) to R27,9 billion. Gross profit increased 4% (+3% CER) to R15,6 billion, supported by a resilient performance from Regional Brands, partially diluted by an unfavourable mix in Sterile Focus Brands as well as higher manufacturing and supply chain costs associated with operating during the pandemic.

Regional Brands

Regional Brands revenue increased 3% (+2% CER) to R17,2 billion. This is a sound performance given the negative impact from the pricing adjustment to the European oncology products and the persistent unfavourable influence of COVID-19 on certain therapies within this portfolio. A strong performance in OTC products underpinned growth in the key territories of Africa Middle East (+2% CER) and Australasia (+6% CER). Sustained positive revenue gains in Latin America supported the growth in the Americas region (+9% CER). The gross profit percentage improved as cost savings outweighed downsides from the pricing reductions in the oncology portfolio.

Sterile Focus Brands

Revenue from Sterile Focus Brands increased 11% (+9% CER) to R10,7 billion. Demand remained volatile, following the COVID-19-wave trends with products used as interventions for COVID-19 patients picking up as infections in a country increased while products used in elective surgeries fell. Growth was driven by strong sales in China, Russia and Latin America. Gross profit percentages declined due to changes in product mix.

Manufacturing

Manufacturing revenue increased 36% (+29% CER). Excluding the supplies to the counterparties of recent transactions, Manufacturing revenue was up 12% (+7% CER). The low/no margin nature of the transaction-related finished dose form supply and the higher costs of production under COVID-19 weighed on the gross profit percentage. COVID-19 vaccine sales (circa R400 million) commenced at the end of the third quarter of the financial year.

PROSPECTS

The commencement of production of the COVID-19 vaccine at our manufacturing site in Gqeberha towards the end of the third quarter of the financial year ended 30 June 2021 was a landmark event in our endeavours to increase access to medicines, particularly for our home continent of Africa. Our strategy to invest in sterile manufacturing facilities has positioned us to play an increasing role in the provision of the COVID-19 vaccine with potential to make a meaningful contribution to addressing the inequality in access to medicines. Aspen is hopeful that the current discussions between Johnson & Johnson and Aspen, including a possible license for Africa, could make a meaningful contribution to improving equitable COVID-vaccine access for the continent.

Our reshaped Commercial Pharmaceutical business has delivered solid organic revenue growth, which is anticipated to continue in the year ahead. We will continue to refine our product portfolios to ensure that Aspen’s offering remains relevant to dynamic market conditions.

The Manufacturing business has made a number of important advances over the past year and is poised to play a material role in driving top and bottom line growth. Many new opportunities are under assessment.

Gearing of the balance sheet has been substantially reduced and we now have significant capacity in terms of our capital allocation model for value adding investments when suitable opportunities are identified.

The 2022 financial year promises to be an exciting one for Aspen. Assuming business as usual, CER revenue growth is expected in the higher single digits with an improved EBITDA margin percentage and reduced finance costs allowing CER NHEPS to grow even more strongly. Exchange rate fluctuations may influence reported results.

Any forecast information provided in the abovementioned paragraph has not been reviewed or reported on by the Group’s auditors.

DIVIDEND TO SHAREHOLDERS

Taking into account the earnings and cash flow performance for the year ended 30 June 2021, existing debt service commitments, future proposed investments and funding options, notice is hereby given that the Board has declared a gross dividend, which is paid from income reserves, of 262 cents per ordinary share to shareholders (or 209,6 cents net of a 20% dividend withholding tax, where this maximum rate of tax applies) recorded in the share register of the Company at the close of business on 23 September 2021 (2020: no dividend declared or paid).  


[1] Calculated in terms of the relevant Facilities Agreement

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