Armed with cash, Adcock seeks emerging markets deals

Adcock Ingram is close to a deal for expansion in West Africa, and the company is scouting for more acquisitions as it presses further into emerging markets. The company is looking to spend almost $2 billion on deals in developing countries, CEO Jonathan Louw told Bloomberg. In Louw's sights are generics and OTC-drug makers in Latin America, Eastern Europe and the Asia Pacific region.

"We have a nice war chest built up," Louw told the news service. "If we extend much beyond the medium term, two to three years, and we are still sitting with a lump of cash, we will have to do something else if we can't find the right acquisition." The company says it's looking to grow earnings outside Africa by 30 percent over the next two to three years.

Meanwhile, Adcock is expanding on its home continent. Last year, it bought drug businesses in Ghana and Kenya, and in June of this year, the company inked a supply partnership with Merck's South Africa unit, giving it access to a host of Merck drugs, both OTC and prescription.

The company has launched its own brands in Uganda and Tanzania, and is in the process of introducing Merck meds into east and west African markets. Plus, as Louw told Reuters, Adcock is working on an acquisition in West Africa. "We have been looking quite closely in West Africa at the moment," he said, "so we're pretty close to a transaction there."

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