Home » 5 companies owned by South African businessman Gus Attridge

5 companies owned by South African businessman Gus Attridge

With a track record rooted in innovation and strategic acumen, Attridge's investment portfolio mirrors a spectrum of ventures

by Feyisayo Ajayi
Gus Attridge

Gus Attridge, a South African businessman who has secured his position as a top figure in Africa’s pharmaceutical landscape, has made an impressive impact on the healthcare sector, solidifying his position as one of the most influential business executives on the continent.

With a track record rooted in innovation and strategic acumen, Attridge’s investment portfolio mirrors a spectrum of ventures — this reflects his savvy business decisions, his strategic prowess and his unwavering commitment to fostering economic growth across the African continent.

At the forefront of his achievements is Aspen Pharmacare, a pharmaceutical group that currently ranks as one of the world’s fifth-largest generic drugmaker. In 1999, Attridge, in collaboration with Stephen Saad, propelled Aspen Pharmacare onto the international stage.  This expansion involved the acquisition of local pharmacies — such as South African Druggists — marking the company’s evolution from its Durban roots into a leading global pharmaceutical group. 

As of 2023, Aspen Pharmacare boasts total assets amounting to R134.28 billion ($7.14 billion), its global footprint spans 26 manufacturing facilities across 18 sites on six continents—a testament to exponential growth spurred by a series of acquisitions since 2013 has solidified its position as the largest pharmaceutical company in Africa.

At the helm of Aspen Pharmacare, Attridge has made significant contributions to Africa’s healthcare sector, including pioneering the development of Africa’s first generic HIV drug in 2003 and venturing into the infant formula market.

As Aspen’s group chief advisor and one of South Africa’s wealthiest businessmen, Attridge holds a 4.26-percent stake in the pharmaceutical giant, equivalent to 19,024,134 ordinary shares, valued at approximately $195 million.

Billionaires.Africa has identified and cataloged various companies linked to Attridge. Below are five such entities where he maintains significant or minority direct or indirect stakes:

  1. Aspen Pharmacare
  • Aspen Pharmacare — co-founded by Attridge — stands tall as one of the world’s premier generic drug manufacturers. In his role as deputy CEO and finance director, Attridge has been a driving force behind the company’s evolution. Since 2013, strategic acquisitions under his leadership have seen the establishment of manufacturing facilities from Australia to Tanzania. With a 4.28-percent stake, Attridge’s commitment is evident in Aspen Pharmacare’s $4.56-billion valuation. His stake in the pharmaceutical group is presently valued at $195 million — underlining his dedication to the company since its inception in 1997.
  1. Shelys Pharmaceuticals
  • Founded in 1956, Shelys Pharmaceuticals, a key player in East Africa’s pharmaceutical landscape, entered the Aspen fold in 2012. Under Aspen’s umbrella, Shelys became a dominant force in Sub-Saharan OTC markets, with a strong presence in Tanzania, Kenya, and Uganda — Attridge’s indirect influence through Aspen reinforces his commitment to the pharmaceutical landscape across East Africa.
  1. Aspen Manufacturing
  • At the forefront of global pharmaceutical production stands Aspen Manufacturing. Under the influence of Attridge and Stephen Saad, it maintains active operations in South Africa, France, the US, and the Netherlands. Accredited by regulatory bodies, the company specializes in high-volume production of tablets, capsules, liquids, and dosage forms, boasting dedicated facilities in De Geer, Moleneind, Boxtel, and Notre Dame de Bondeville.
  1. Fine Chemicals Corporation
  • Founded in Cape Town in 1962, Fine Chemicals Corporation — now a wholly-owned subsidiary of Aspen Pharmacare Holdings Limited — emerged from the South African Druggists Group. Acquired by Attridge’s Aspen Pharmacare in 2004, it has evolved from a local-focused entity to a key player in the global pharmaceutical market, developing off-patent generic APIs for the U.S. market.
  1. Aspen API
  • Attridge, in partnership with Stephen Saad, spearheads the global market in active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) through Aspen API — a division of Aspen Pharmacare Holdings Limited. With a rich history of producing high-quality APIs, the company has solidified its position through strategic partnerships and a diverse product portfolio, earning recognition as a leader in the provision of active pharmaceutical ingredients worldwide.

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