Major shareholders Bidvest, PIC oust chairman of S.Africa's Adcock

Wed Feb 19, 2014 5:34am EST

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* Bidvest, PIC press for Brian Joffe to be on the board

* Adcock shares rise more than 2 percent

JOHANNESBURG Feb 19 (Reuters) - Adcock Ingram's top two shareholders have ousted its chairman after a long-running battle for control of its board and are now expected to push through changes to turn around South Africa's second biggest drug company.

Bidvest and state-run pension fund Public Investment Corporation (PIC) say Adcock could fast-track its turnaround with leadership changes and want Bidvest chief executive Brian Joffe and two other executives they have nominated to be appointed as directors.

Joffe has an established track record of buying poorly performing companies and turning them around by improving cash flow, capital allocation and returns.

Khotso Mokhele's resignation late on Tuesday comes weeks after Bidvest became Adcock's biggest shareholder and torpedoed a foreign takeover of the company.

Adcock, 55.5 percent-owned by Bidvest and PIC, has been hit by slow sales, currency swings and over-reliance on the highly regulated South African market.

Bidvest built up its stake from about 4 percent to more than a third in about two months with a 4 billion rand ($370 million) cash offer direct to shareholders.

Shares in Adcock rose 2.2 percent to 57.9 rand by 1022 GMT, outpacing a 0.4 percent gain for the JSE All-share index .

Mokhele clashed with Joffe last year after he led a board decision to snub Bidvest's offer for 60 percent stake in Adcock in favour of Chile's CFR bid for the whole company.

Mokhele, who has been at helm for seven years, had argued that Bidvest's offer was opportunistic and lacked strategic logic while CFR would broaden Adcock's geographic footprint and fill the gaps in its product offering.

CFR has dropped its 12.8 billion rand bid because it was clear that it would not secure shareholder approval because both the PIC and Bidvest were against it. (Reporting by Tiisetso Motsoeneng; Editing by Louise Ireland)

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