Home » Pharma tycoon Stephen Saad gains $38 million as Aspen moves to produce COVID-19 vaccines

Pharma tycoon Stephen Saad gains $38 million as Aspen moves to produce COVID-19 vaccines

by Mfonobong Nsehe

South African billionaire Stephen Saad has recorded a R602.46-million ($38 million) boost in his net worth in a single day, as investors on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange continue to bet on the value prospect of his pharma firm’s deal with the U.S. drug behemoth, Johnson & Johnson (J&J).

Saad is a South African billionaire and pharma tycoon, who founded Aspen Pharmacare Holdings Limited, Africa’s largest drug manufacturer 24 years ago; the billionaire businessman holds a 12.5-percent stake in the drug company.

Earlier in December, Aspen signed a non-binding agreement with J&J that will see it become the first African drug company to manufacture and sell COVID-19 vaccines in Africa.

The non-binding agreement forms the basis for negotiating a definitive deal on the manufacture and sale of an Aspen-branded COVID-19 vaccine throughout Africa.

In reaction to the strategic partnership with J&J, investor buying interest caused Aspen’s stock price to surge to a record high of R242.9 ($15.29) on Dec. 1.

A new wave of buying activities spurred by investor speculation on Aspen’s financial performance in the mid to long term and the value prospect of its deal with J&J caused its shares to surge by 5.34 percent in today’s trading session.

This bullish pressure led the market capitalization of the leading drugmaker to soar above the R100-billion ($6.3 million) mark, as investors scrambled to acquire additional shares.

In reaction to the price surge, the market value of Saad’s 12.5-percent stake in Aspen increased from a valuation of R12.22 billion ($769.5 million) at the opening of the exchange on Dec. 17 to R12.87 billion ($810.62 million) as of the closing of the bourse.

The upward movement accrued a R602.46-million ($38 million) gain for the billionaire in less than 24 hours.

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