Clearly, the Australian government didn't have a clue what it owned when – in one of the first privatisations in this country – it sold the former Commonwealth Serum Laboratories through a sharemarket float in June 1994.
The government flogged the serum and antivenin maker – now known as CSL Limited (CSL) – off at $2.30 a share; a three-for-one share split in 2007 means that was effectively 77 cents a share. This week, CSL surged through $50 for the first time.
A success story
Australia’s home-grown biotech star is unrecognisable from the company that was floated 18 years ago. Under the outstanding leadership of Brian McNamee (who will stand down in July 2013), CSL has become the world’s second-largest blood products company and a world-class biotech business. CSL now has revenue of about $4.4 billion and more than 10,500 employees across 27 countries. It has significant manufacturing operations in Australia, the United States, Germany and Switzerland.