New Delhi: India’s fifth largest drug maker by revenue, Lupin Ltd, saw a 40% gain in net profit for the fourth quarter as it launched new drugs and improved performance in the US, its key market.
The firm’s board also approved a split of shares, subject to shareholder approval. Lupin’s net profit for the three months ended 31 March increased to Rs220.6 crore from Rs157.4 crore in the same quarter last year. Sales rose 23% to Rs1,284.8 crore.
Full-year net profit grew 36% to Rs681.6 crore on a 26% rise in sales to Rs4,740.5 crore.
Lupin’s sales in the US grew 39% to Rs1,649.7 crore in the year to March, contributing 34.8% to its total sales. The firm’s domestic business contributed 28% to total sales.
Lupin ranks eighth among generic drug makers in the US in terms of prescriptions and is among the Top 10 fastest growing generic players there, according to IMS Health Inc., a global drug retail researcher.
Shares of Lupin climbed 4% on Wednesday to close at Rs1,820.30 each on the Bombay Stock Exchange, while the benchmark Sensex index fell 0.29% to 17,087.96 points.
“The sales from Antara and Lotrel were major contributors to the US performance. Plus, the base business has been growing nicely,” said Nilesh Gupta, group president and executive director on the Lupin board. “We filed 37 abbreviated new drug applications (ANDA) this year...probably the highest in the country.” Lupin had in September acquired the US rights for Antara, a cholesterol-lowering medication, from Oscient Pharmaceuticals Corp., which was going through bankruptcy proceedings. The same month, it reached a settlement with Novartis International AG to launch a copy of Lotrel, the Swiss pharmaceutical firm’s hypertension drug. ANDAs are filed with the US Food and Drug Administration for approval to launch generic versions of drugs in that country.
Gupta said Lupin intends to launch its basket of oral contraceptive products in the US in the first quarter of the next fiscal year. Lupin has filed 22 ANDAs for its oral contraceptive drugs and is awaiting approval from the US drugs regulator. The Lupin board also announced its decision to split the shares of the company from a face value of Rs10 each to Rs2. Gupta couldn’t say when shareholder approval was expected but said the split would make the stock more affordable for retail and long investors.
“The result is very good. Export revenues were very good and US, as expected, benefited from the two products Antara and Lotrel,” said Hemant Bakhru, a Mumbai-based pharma analyst with foreign brokerage CLSA Asia-Pacific Markets. “What was most interesting was that 22 ANDAs were filed during the quarter...typically, companies file these many annually.”
In the ongoing fiscal year, Lupin is targeting at least six new generic launches and aims to file more than 40 ANDAs, said Gupta. He added Lupin has decided to go slow on its expansion plans for West Asia, but will continue to look for acquisition opportunities in Latin America and India.