UPDATE 1-South African drug group Aspen aims to grow in U.S. market

miércoles 9 de septiembre de 2015 11:59 GYT

(Adds CEO comment, detail)

By TJ Strydom

JOHANNESBURG, Sept 9 (Reuters) - South African drugmaker Aspen Pharmacare on Wednesday reported a slowdown in full-year profit growth to 13 percent as a result of currency volatility and said it aimed to expand its business in the United States.

Aspen supplies drugs to Europe, Australia and most of Latin America, making about 150 countries in total. It has grown rapidly after expanding outside its highly-regulated home market, increasing profits by more than 25 percent annually since 2012 but has so far has not been able to increase sales the U.S. market.

Chief Executive Stephen Saad told Reuters the company now wants more revenue from the United States and to turn Aspen into a "decent player" in the world's largest pharmaceutical market via organic sales growth or by buying businesses.

Aspen has grown sales by 45 percent on the previous year in Europe, Russia and some of its smaller neighbouring states, which together account for nearly a third of its total revenue of 36.1 billion rand for the full-year. Its South African business had sales of 8.6 billion rand in the year.

The company, which has factories in 10 countries, imports many of its drug-making ingredients and pays for them in euros, South Africa's rand and the Australian dollar, meaning that a stronger U.S. dollar erodes its earnings.

"This was the worst possible mix of currencies for us," Saad said.

The rand and the Australian dollar have both lost more than 13 percent against the U.S. dollar so far this year.   Continuación...