CORRECTED-S.Africa stocks down but Adcock surges on Bidvest interest

Fri Aug 22, 2014 12:31pm EDT

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(Corrects name of company in headline to Adcock from Abil)

* Top-40 loses 0.65 percent

* All-share sheds 0.48 percent

JOHANNESBURG, Aug 22 (Reuters) - South African stocks sank on Friday in line with global markets as tensions escalated over Ukraine, but drugmaker Adcock Ingram surged on news that top shareholder Bidvest Group was looking to raise its stake.

Adcock leapt over 6 percent to 52 rand on a report that the move could trigger a full buy-out.

Bidvest, a conglomerate that spans shipping to catering, already owns 34.5 percent of Adcock, South Africa's second-largest drugmaker. A document from South Africa's competition regulator seen by Reuters on Thursday said Bidvest intended to increase that to more than 50 percent.

Bidvest Chief Executive Brian Joffe has been trying to take control of Adcock since March last year, seeing a chance to turn around another underperforming company.

"There's more value in the business and I'm pretty sure Brian Joffe sees that too," said Reuben Beelders, portfolio manager at Gryphon Asset Management.

But overall the market was down, with iron ore producer Assore the biggest decliner among blue chips, shedding 1.8 percent to 323.32 rand, as the commodity's price dropped below $92 a tonne to its lowest since June, under pressure from plentiful supply and tougher credit conditions.

The benchmark Top-40 index fell 0.65 percent to 45,983 while the wider All-share index lost 0.48 percent to 51,197.

Decliners pipped advancers 146 to 141, according to preliminary bourse data, while a modest 140 million shares changed hands. (Reporting by Ed Stoddard; Editing by David Dolan)

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