In what appears to be a growing tale of caution, Ascendis Health is the latest South African health company to find itself on the wrong side of the market as it battles to repay debts amid an aggressive growth strategy. SA's health market has seen its fair share of challenges of late, operating in a low- growth environment, and Ascendis has not been exempt from this as it goes up against industry giants such as Aspen Pharmacare and Adcock Ingram. The health and wellness company's beginnings stretch back to just over a decade ago and it listed on the JSE six years ago. It produces products in the consumer health, pharmaceutical, medical, animal health and bioscience categories. Like some of its competitors, Ascendis had aspirations to scale up and have an international footprint. It began its strategy towards that goal between 2015 and 2017, acquiring four businesses in Europe: Scitec in Hungary, Sunwave Pharma in Romania, Remedica in Cyprus and Farmalider in Spain. However, this amb...

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