Ascendis clarifies board and ownership positions

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Ascendis clarifies board and ownership positions
Credit: © Reuters.

It's not often that a company issues an announcement clarifying the status of its acting CEO, but then "Descendis" is no ordinary company.

After the fiasco of the past few days with the AGM that the company was forced to hold by the Gauteng High Court despite trying to postpone proceedings, Andrew Marshall's freshly-announced position as acting CEO was in doubt.

After the AGM, Ascendis announced that Marshall's planned role would remain in place. Yesterday, the company issued an announcement to the effect that Marshall is still in discussions with the company and has not necessarily accepted the appointment. The drama continues.

A further clarification was also issued regarding activist Harry Smit's shareholding in the company. It was previously announced in October that Smit had acquired a beneficial interest in Ascendis Health (JO: ASCJ ) shares of 30%. At the time, that seemed to be incorrect.

After an investigation by the Takeover Regulation Panel (TRP), it has been confirmed that Smit does not own a stake that size for his own benefit, despite his disclosure to the company on the prescribed TRP form to that effect. The real story is that Smit and other shareholders concluded a voting pool agreement for a period of 6 - 24 months which in aggregate represented that level of voting rights.

This misunderstanding has now been corrected by the company.

Ascendis (JO: ASCJ ) has fallen more than 20% in the past month and is now trading fractionally higher than it was at the start of the year. A 52-week high of 130 cents and 52-week low of 43 cents tells the real story of the volatility this year.

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