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South African firm, Aspen, signs deal with Indian firm, Serum, to sell vaccines in Africa

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South African firm, Aspen Pharmacare has signed a deal with the Serum Institute of India to manufacture and sell four Aspen-branded vaccines for Africa.

The deal comes as Aspen seeks to utilise its near-idle COVID-19 vaccine production lines in eastern South Africa.

Despite its contract with Johnson & Johnson to package its COVID-19 vaccine into vials and earlier this year it has not received a single order yet for the COVID vaccine and its J&J orders under its previous contract were also “dwindling”, putting at risk its 450-million-dose vaccine production line.

A senior executive of Aspen earlier in August revealed that its (APNJ.J) COVID-19 vaccine production lines may soon go idle, and without any new orders it could be forced to pivot to manufacturing other products.

According to a statement by Aspen, vaccines under agreement with Serum will include hexavalent, pneumococcal, polyvalent meningococcal and rotavirus.

“Aspen SA Operations has secured a licence to the enabling know-how from the Serum Institute,” it said, adding the two sides might also discuss expanding the agreement to include new products or new versions of products.

South Africa has the world’s largest antiretroviral programme and is one of the major producers of radiopharmaceuticals but the country has witnessed lot of disruption in the sector since the Covid-19 pandemic.

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Nigeria’s Access Bank acquires majority equity stake in Angolan financial firm, Finibanco

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One of Nigeria’s mega financial institutions, Access Bank, has penned an agreement to acquire 51% majority shareholding in Finibanco Angola S.A from Montepio Holding SGPS S.A, according the bank’s parent company, Access Holdings Plc.

The company which made the announcement late Tuesday, said it had purchased existing shares owned by Montepio, the holding company for Banco Montepio, a Portuguese commercial bank with over 20 branches and valued at $300 million in total assets.

The takeover of the Angolan bank sees an increase in the number of branches under Access Bank across Africa, making it the largest commercial bank in Africa by number of customers.

“Access Holdings Plc, trading as Access Corporation (‘the Corporation’) today announces that its wholly owned subsidiary, Access Bank Plc (the Bank) has entered into a binding agreement with Montepio Holding SGPS S.A (‘Montepio’) to acquire a 51 percent majority shareholding in Finibanco Angola S.A. (the Transaction),” the company said in the statement.

“The Transaction furthers the bank’s strategy to be Africa’s payment gateway to the world whilst working with other Africa-focused multilateral to provide robust and efficient payment platforms and ecosystems to serve the continent,” it added.

Access Bank has been very active on the African continent as it has so far acquired banks in other countries to expand leadrship position and extend its market trades.

The Nigerian financial institution had acquired Kenyan lender, Sidian Bank Ltd, African Banking Corporation of Botswana Limited, African Banking Corporation Zambia Limited, as well as Cavmont Bank in the last few years.

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Petrol prices fall in South Africa, Libya but cost of diesel keeps flying

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Prices of petrol have fallen in South Africa and Libya but such cannot be said of diesel.

The government of government on Monday announced that the petrol pump price would decrease by up to 1.02 Rand a litre but the price of diesel would increase by up to 15 cents a litre from October 5.

In Sudan also, petrol prices seem to be obeying the law of gravity as the energy ministry said in a statement on Tuesday that price had fallen from 700 Sudanese pounds to 522 pounds ($0.9235) per litre.

There has been a fall in global oil prices recently which has caused a fall in domestic inflation to 7.6% in August in South Africa.

The ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine has had its knock-on effects on oil prices globally. Prices of diesel have almost tripled in most African countries.

In Nigeria for instance, industries like aviationtelecom operators have all struggled with the situation which has disrupted business operations.

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