Bidvest CEO Brian Joffe. Picture: FINANCIAL MAIL
Bidvest CEO Brian Joffe. Picture: FINANCIAL MAIL

BRIAN Joffe, CE of industrial group Bidvest, said on Friday that he was waiting for more information on South African drug maker Adcock Ingram’s contracts with Swiss multinational drugs supplier Baxter Healthcare before upping his bid for the company.

"They (Adcock) won’t give us any information. I want to know if the Baxter Healthcare contracts come with a sale and what Baxter would do if Adcock was sold," he said.

"Bidvest’s bid stands and we planning our next move," he said.

Adcock said on Thursday that it had received proposals for 100% of its shares. It has emerged that more than one company, including a private-equity-led consortium, made bids.

The company, with a market capitalisation of about R11bn, has struggled to perform against its competitors over the past couple of years.

In March, Mr Joffe’s bid of R6.2bn for Adcock, South Africa’s second-biggest drugs seller, was not welcomed by Adcock’s board, which decided not to take it to shareholders. This prompted Mr Joffe to go hostile and canvass Adcock’s diverse range of shareholders, which include Liberty Life, Bank of New York Mellon, the Public Investment Corporation and Bidvest itself.

Suggestions that Baxter Healthcare had a call option to veto a change of control if Adcock were bought have been scotched. Baxter’s published documents show it and Adcock cancelled the option years ago.

The documents also show that supply agreements between Baxter and Adcock are set to remain in place until 2023. Nevertheless, Mr Joffe has asked for further details on the relationship between Adcock and Baxter.

Mr Joffe also said on Friday that the rumour that Ethos Private Equity had bid for Adcock may hold weight. Bidvest tried to buy Brandcorp, a luggage maker, in which Ethos had majority control, earlier this year. The deal collapsed late into discussions.

"I thought Ethos may have an interest in buying Adcock but they could not do so alone. They would need a partner," he said.

Chelsea Wilkinson, senior manager for corporate affairs at Ethos, said she could not comment.

"Ethos has a policy of not commenting on market speculation regarding potential investments," she said. "I can neither confirm nor deny Ethos’ involvement in Adcock."