Ascendis Health’s chronic headache
A dismal share performance and a forced seller add up to a severe headache for CEO Thomas Thomsen
How many shares Ascendis Health’s founder-investor, Coast2Coast, has to sell to pay off its bankers is as much a mystery to the company as it is to the rest of the market. Former nonexecutive director Gary Shayne, who created the pharmaceutical group in 2008 with Coast2Coast partner Cris Dillon, has been forced to offload stock in the past few months, culminating in a sale of more than 3.25-million shares last week, and his resignation from the board. Speaking to the FM this week, CEO Thomas Thomsen, who was brought in last year to replace Karsten Wellner, says Shayne "doesn’t want to provide an open book to that … and it’s not for a lack of trying. "We don’t have visibility as to the [share] overhang and we mentioned during the results that we’ve been trying as a board to get more visibility and that’s not been possible."
Coast2Coast borrowed against the value of its shares to underwrite Ascendis’s R750m rights offer in 2017, when it ended up the only real buyer. But a slump ...