Picture: SUPPLIED
Picture: SUPPLIED

Health and wellness firm Ascendis Health has, for the second time in just more than a week, pushed back the release of its annual results, saying there were complexities in the treatment of discontinued operations and the implementation of new accounting standards.

On September 25, when the results were initially scheduled to be released, the group announced a last-minute delay in the release of its results for the year to June, moving it out to October 4. But on Wednesday, Ascendis, which fired CEO Thomas Thomsen in May, further postponed the release of its financials until October 31.

“The board and management apologise for the inconvenience caused by a further delay in the release of the annual results,” the company said.

Ascendis joins the list of companies that have delayed releasing financials for various reasons. These include petrochemicals group Sasol, which has delayed the release of results for the year ended June 30 until October 31 to give the group time to investigate cost changes at its Lake Charles Chemicals Project in the US. 

Ascendis did not give details of the complexities relating to the treatment of discontinued operations. In its results for the six months to December 2018, Ascendis said a number of its businesses and assets had been identified as non-core and would be offloaded.

At the time, the group said it was in “advanced” negotiations for the sale of Efekto, Marltons and Afrikelp businesses, which form part of the its Ascendis Biosciences division.

In December 2018, Ascendis reached an agreement with Mylan  for the sale of the group’s Isando manufacturing facility for R130m. The group also sold the SA sports nutrition business for R54m in September 2018.

In September, Ascendis announced the appointment of former Truworths CFO Mark Sardi as CEO. Ascendis chair Andrew Marshall said Sardi’s priorities include turning around under-performing businesses, disposing of non-core assets, reducing debt, and improving cash management.

In March, Gary Shayne, a non-executive director who was responsible for putting downward pressure on the company’s share price, resigned.

Shayne is a majority beneficial owner and CEO of Coast2Coast Capital, the private equity firm that founded Ascendis in 2008 and listed it on the JSE in November 2013. Shayne had to offload large chunks of Ascendis shares to meet obligations to lenders, since the stock was used as collateral for loans.

njobenis@businesslive.co.za