India’s Ranbaxy Laboratories is continuing to hit the acquisition trail hard and has paid some $70 million to buy South African pharmaceutical firm Be-Tabs Pharmaceuticals.

The figures of the deal reveal that the sales price for Be-Tabs, which is the fifth largest generics firm and largest penicillin manufacturer in South Africa, is 2.2 times Be-Tabs’ turnover and 7.7 times its earnings before interest tax and depreciation.

The company also has a strong over-the-counter portfolio with significant brand recognition, Ranbaxy claimed in a statement and chief executive Malvinder Singh added that the acquisition of Be-Tabs “results in considerable synergies and strengthens Ranbaxy’s foothold in South Africa.”

This desire to expand in Africa’s largest market follows recent shopping sprees by Ranbaxy in Europe, most notably the $324 million purchase of Romania’s Terapia in March, GlaxoSmithKline’s generics units in Italy and Spain and Ethimed in Belgium.

Mr Singh told Reuters that the company had doubled its sales force, expanded capacity and modernised its facilities in Romania, saying the latter “is a very good story for is going to be our third-biggest business. It’s a strong high-margin market.

Meantime price erosion is restricting the firm’s opportunities in the US and while Mr Singh confirmed that while “competition (is) going to remain intense” in that market “our business is growing and it will continue to grow.”