* Fund takes 15 pct of S.Africa's No.2 drug firm
* Chile's CFR battling state pension fund for Adcock
* Foord's intention not immediately clear
By David Dolan
JOHANNESBURG, Dec 27 South Africa's Foord Asset
Management has increased to 15 percent its stake in Adcock
Ingram, making it the second-largest shareholder in the
hotly contested drugmaker.
The battle for Adcock, an underperforming company with a
strong portfolio of over-the-counter medicines, hotted up in
July when Chile's CFR Pharmaceuticals offered $1.2
billion in cash and shares for it.
Santiago-based CFR is looking to build an emerging markets
pharmaceutical powerhouse with operations in Latin America, Asia
The future of the deal is uncertain, given opposition from
two of Adcock's major shareholders, the state-run Public
Investment Corporation (PIC) - which has the biggest stake at 22
percent - and local conglomerate Bidvest Holdings.
The PIC and Bidvest together hold at least 29 percent of
Adcock, enough to veto the deal - which requires approval from
investors holding 75 percent of Adcock - at a vote next month.
The PIC has said it does not want CFR shares.
Bidvest, which initially tried to buy control of Adcock in
March but was rebuffed by the company's board, has gone straight
to shareholders with a cash offer for over a third of the
The PIC is also the top shareholder in Bidvest, leading to
some speculation the fund is behind its counter offer, something
Bidvest's chief executive has denied.
Adcock said in a regulatory filing on Friday that Cape
Town-based Foord Asset Management had acquired 15.02 percent of
That would make Foord Adcock's second-largest shareholder
after the PIC, according to the latest Thomson Reuters data.
Bidvest has around 7 percent.
Foord had a 3.58 percent stake in Adcock at the end of June.
It was not immediately clear how Foord planned to vote on
the CFR deal. No one was available for comment at the fund.
Founded in 1981 by investor David Foord, Foord Asset
Management has around $2.5 billion in assets under management,
according to Thomson Reuters data.
As of June it had a 0.5 percent stake in Bidvest. It also
has a stake in Adcock's bigger rival Aspen Pharmacare.
Shares of Adcock were up 0.3 percent at 71.28 rand. The
shares have consistently remained closer to Bidvest's offer
price of 70 rand than CFR's offer of 74.50 rand.