Aspen gets green light for baby milk formula exports to China


Cape Town – JSE-listed Aspen Pharmacare confirmed on Monday that it has received approval from the China Food and Drug Administration (CFDA) to register the Aspen infant milk formula Alula in China.

In 2016 the CFDA introduced new regulation stipulating, among others, that only CFDA approved brands will be allowed and sold into the People’s Republic of China after January 1 2018, Aspen explained in a note to shareholders.

The Alula infant milk formula brand was launched in October 2017. The CFDA approval authorises Aspen to continue with the export of its infant milk formula to China.

Aspen regards the CFDA approval as a significant milestone in its quest to grow its brand presence in China – the world’s biggest consumer of infant milk formula products.

As Fin24 earlier reported, the share price of Aspen endured a rocky start to trade last week, caused by rumours that research group Viceroy was investigating the pharmaceutical company.

Its shares briefly traded down over 10% on Tuesday, before recovering. That afternoon, in a notice to shareholders, Aspen said it was aware of speculation that it was being investigated by Viceroy but said it has had no contact with Viceroy Research and, as such, was unable to confirm if this speculation was correct.

Viceroy research had released an exposé on embattled Stellenbosch-headquartered global retailer Steinhoff in December. Aspen also indicated that it was not aware of “price sensitive” information that required communication to shareholders.

Aspen said trading in the current financial year has been consistent with the prospects communicated to shareholders in the 2017 financial year results as announced in September 2017.

Bloomberg reported previously that Aspen CEO Stephen Saad said full-year earnings are “completely clear” and the company has nothing in common with scandal-hit retailer Steinhoff International.

Saad told Bloomberg it is sad that “unscrupulous operators can abuse the fear in the market for their own greed”.

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