Aspen CEO Stephen Saad is adamant that he still has the confidence of his major shareholders. "Do I feel besieged? No. Why don’t I? Because I know we’ve got plans and we’ll deliver on those plans," he tells the FM. Yet Aspen’s harrowing share price decline — as much as 50% on the day its first-half results were released this month — is a clear indication that many die-hard Aspen believers have finally lost faith in the former JSE darling. The investor community is also starkly divided as to what Aspen, which has morphed from a generics-focused drugs manufacturer into a global pharmaceutical business involved in niche products like anaesthetics and thrombosis medication, is now worth. Of the 11 analysts tracked by Bloomberg, five rate the share a buy, five are neutral and one has an outright sell — Arqaam Capital’s André Bekker, who puts its valuation at R97.64, not far off Tuesday’s price of R93. Until recently HSBC thought Aspen could go to R245 while SBG Securities had a 12-month ...

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