Stephen Saad, founder and CEO of SA's biggest pharmaceutical manufacturer, Aspen Pharmacare, denies it overpaid for acquisitions it is having to sell to get itself out of a R53bn debt hole and regain the battered confidence of its investors."We've bought and sold pretty well," he says.In the process, the share price plunged from a high of R448 in 2015 to R65 three months ago, and its debt levels raised fears it would breach its debt covenants.It is selling its Japanese business to Novartis for R6.5bn, following the sale of its infant-milk business to French company Lactalis."It's a very painful process to have to go through on a public stage," says Saad.The acquisitions were necessary for the company to globalise, says Saad, a 55-year-old chartered accountant who started Aspen in Durban 21 years ago and made a fortune manufacturing generic antiretrovirals (ARVs) for HIV/Aids patients."To compete seriously in this business you have to globalise, particularly if you're in commoditie...

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