Cipla CFO quits with immediate effect

JSE-listed generic drugs firm Cipla Medpro has lost its chief financial officer (CFO) Chris Aucamp whose immediate resignation was announced on Monday. Aucamp’s surprise departure follows hot on the heels of erstwhile chief executive officer Jerome Smith’s departure, who resigned from his post amid an extensive probe into a series of alleged shenanigans that exposed the Cipla board for poor governance.

The drugs company says Aucamp, a chartered accountant who’s held the CFO’s position since 2007, remains with Medpro Pharmaceutica, a subsidiary “until at least 31 March 2013”.

Cipla did not give reasons for Aucamp’s sudden departure.

While Smith is yet to be replaced, the firm has promoted long-serving company secretary Mark Daly to CFO. The company secretary’s post remains vacant until further notice while Johan du Preez, an independent director who was appointed acting CEO in August, continues to warm the seat.

Smith and Aucamp were directors of a variety of related entities, including L’Amar (France) Pharmatec, that benefited from Cipla’s procurement spend. . Between 2008 and last year, L’Amar collected R7m from the Cipla, partly in what’s described as royalties. Also, as at 2011 year-end, Cipla owed L’Amar (a company founded after Smith and Aucamp’s appointments to the Cipla board) R5.3m loan.

Meanwhile, the generics company has received a proposal from Mumbai-listed Cipla Ltd. The Indian generics titan, which has a 20-year supply arrangement with the JSE-listed company, unveiled last week its suit to take a 51% stake the local player for 855c per share.

Cipla ended the Monday session at 845c/share, a fraction easier, which puts its market cap at R3.754bn.

“In the event that the proposal and related discussions result in a firm offer being received, the board will obtain an independent opinion and express a view on the offer to shareholders as required by the Companies Act and Regulations,” the company told the JSE. Further, Cipla India has been a core business partner of the local entity since the founding of the latter in 1993.

“It is a key objective of the parties that any transaction will, amongst others, with the support of Cipla India, further strengthen the company’s position in the South African pharmaceutical market, support the optimisation and expansion of the company's manufacturing capability and support the company's expansion into collaboratively identified African markets.”
Shoks Mnisi Mzolo

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