Debt-laden Ascendis Health appears to have no option but to sell its crown jewel, Cyprus-based pharmaceutical maker Remedica, an analyst says. Ascendis, whose healthcare brands include Solal and Bettaway, said in an earnings report on Monday that net bank debt climbed from R4.8bn to R5.3bn in the six months to December because of the weaker rand and an increase in short-term loans. Most of the company’s debts are in euros. In response, the company’s share price has dropped 18.4% so far this week to R3.85, valuing Ascendis at R1.9bn, or slightly more than a third of its net-debt pile. As part of its plans to rein in borrowings, Ascendis is in talks to sell most of its biosciences businesses as well as its direct-selling operation. More significantly, it is also in talks to sell its Remedica business, which accounts for a third of its earnings. The group said in January it had received an unsolicited offer for the Cyprus-based company it bought in 2016. It has since decided to field o...

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