Aspen forecasts half-year results ahead of estimate on restart of heparin sale

An Aspen Pharmacare logo is seen at outside company offices in Woodmead

(Reuters) - South Africa's Aspen Pharmacare Holdings Ltd <APNJ.J> said on Friday it expects to report half-year results slightly above its forecast as the drugmaker's manufacturing unit benefited from the restart of heparin sales to third party customers.

Revenue is expected to grow between 2% and 4% for the six months ended Dec. 31, the company said in a statement.

The nearly 170-year-old drug maker, with a presence in about 56 countries, had said in September that it would pursue supplying heparin to third party customers again, "given the pricing and the significant stockholding established."

Aspen had suspended the supply of the blood-thinning medication to third parties due to limited global availability as a result of the outbreak of African swine fever in China, the world's biggest pork producer.

A key ingredient for heparin is pig mucosa, which is derived from the animal's intestine.

However, the company also said it expects to record a charge of ZAR 500 million (25.77 million pounds) related to certain regional brands.

(Reporting by Yadarisa Shabong in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D'Silva)