Consumer Industries Editor
CAPE TOWN Aspen Pharmacare Holdings, SA's biggest manufacturer of generic medicines, said it had posted its sixth successive year of improved profits yesterday.
Headline earnings rose 31% to 103,7c a share in the year to June compared with the corresponding period last year, it said. The dividend was raised 50% to 30c a share.
Revenue from continuing operations increased 16% to R1,9bn, with the bottom line also enhanced by higher operating margins and lower finance costs.
Group CE Stephen Saad said the main reasons for the strong performance were increased sales volumes, new product launches and the contribution of products that were acquired through distribution and co-marketing agreements.
Future growth was expected to come from substantial expansion of the market for generic drugs in SA, Saad said.
Generics currently account for about 25% by value of the private pharmaceutical market.
In the short- to medium-term, Aspen has a sound pipeline of products that will be launched. It expects 106 products to be registered within the next two years.
Worldwide, the generic drug industry is being spurred by numerous proprietary products coming off patent.
Aspen's recently completed oral solid dosage factory in Port Elizabeth will enable it to meet demand, which has been outstripping supply.
The factory manufactures antiretrovirals to treat HIV/AIDS and also manufactures for export.
The manufacture of antiretrovirals offered a significant opportunity for the group, Saad said.
Recently, it was revealed that Aspen was one of the companies shortlisted for the government's key AIDS drug tender. An announcement of the successful tenders is expected imminently.
The group's growth would also be boosted by the recent acquisition of Fine Chemicals, said Saad. Fine Chemicals products had been approved by the Food and Drug Administration of the US, which meant that there could be an opportunity to export to the US in future, he said.
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