Pharmaniaga to focus on vaccine facility expansion


PHARMANIAGA Bhd is focused on its vaccine segment expansion and operations enhancement to cater to the increasing demand for healthcare products amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

In a filing to Bursa Malaysia yesterday, the company said the positive momentum in the healthcare industry will sustain for the next five years despite the challenges presented by the coronavirus.

“The long-term outlook for the healthcare sector is expected to be positive in the post-Covid-19 period hence, generic pharmaceutical products will likely retain their importance as effective and economical healthcare solutions.

“Pharmaniaga is well poised to leverage opportunities in Malaysia and overseas markets, to ensure the sustainable growth of the group in the years ahead,” it said yesterday.

Its halal vaccine project is making progress as approval has been received for the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine initiated with Serum Institute of India Private Ltd.

“The preparations for the fill and finish process of the Covid-19 vaccine are progressing well with plans underway to repurpose the group’s small volume injectable plant as well as exploring collaborations with other potential partners to ensure safe and effective delivery of the vaccine,” it said.

Pharmaniaga noted the prospects for the healthcare sector are well supported by the 2021 national budget as RM1 billion has been allocated to curb the spread of Covid-19, including purchasing of reagents, test kits and consumables for the Health Ministry.

In its third-quarter ended Sept 30, Pharmaniaga’s net profit surged nearly 200% to RM1.44 million from RM481,000 made last year as a result of lower operating expenses during the Movement Control Order.

Revenue declined by 13% to RM624.8 million during the quarter from RM716.85 million, mainly due to the reduced demand from both the concession business and Indonesian operations amid the pandemic.

The group declared a third interim dividend of 1.5 sen, to be paid on Dec 29, 2020. For the nine months period (9M20), its net profit rose 15% year-on-year (YoY) to RM33.82 million while revenue eased to RM2.09 billion from RM2.1 billion last year.

Pharmaniaga’s logistics and distribution segment recorded a higher profit before zakat (PBT) of RM42 million for 9M20 against RM17 million last year, mainly due to the stronger contribution from the non-concession business.

Its manufacturing segment also posted a higher PBT of RM13 million due to the stronger revenue of RM201 million, backed by the continuous order trends from government hospitals.

“The manufacturing division continues to hold encouraging potential, propelled by a strong product pipeline and continued international expansion coupled with increased capacity utilisation via its contract manufacturing business,” it said.

Its Indonesia division registered a deficit of RM3 million for the period, primarily due to the higher finance costs as a result of the ongoing delay in payment from government hospitals which continues to affect Indonesia’s healthcare industry.

“The division was further impacted by Indonesia’s large-scale social restrictions, Pembatasan Sosial Berskala Besar, in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, which resulted in limited access to doctors, clinics, pharmacies and hospitals,” it said.

Pharmaniaga shares dropped three sen or 0.52% to RM5.72 yesterday, giving it a market capitalisation of RM1.5 billion.

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