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Gulf Pharmaceutical Industries (Julphar), the largest pharmaceutical company in the UAE listed on the Abu Dhabi Securities Market, plans to double its equity base to Dh1 billion from the current Dh560 million through the rights route, according to a top executive.
“We are planning three tranches of rights issues for the next three years at a price of Dh1.75 per share. It is a good gain for our shareholders,” Julphar CEO Abdul Razzak Yousuf told Emirates Business. Julphar closed at Dh2.9 on ADSM on Tuesday.
“We are listed on ADSM and we have been planning to list on DFM. We expect both the exchanges to be linked soon and automatically our listing on ADSM will make us eligible for listing on DFM. We understand that the stock exchange authorities of the two bourses are seriously talking about this cross listing,” he said.
Yousuf said the company has been gradually increasing its capital base by issuing shares to its existing shareholders and the capital increase will be in instalments. The Dh560m share in the company is held by the Ras Al Khaimah Government (22 per cent), UAE nationals (44 per cent), Arab Company for Drugs Industries and Medical Accessories (15 per cent) and Islamic Development Bank (7 per cent).
“We may leverage the expanded equity to finance some of our future expansion projects to meet expected competition from the entry of multinational drug firms in the UAE/GCC markets. The firm’s total sales revenue for 2007 increased by 14.1 per cent to Dh661m – Dh541m from Julphar and Dh120m from subsidiaries – and profit of Dh207m on an equity of Dh560m.
“Preparations are on to call a shareholders’ meeting to announce the share enhancement plans,” he said.
The company, which is in a major expansion drive in the Middle East-North Africa (Mena) and Asian markets, is increasing the capital to partly fund the new projects under development around the world and to buy patents and other assets required to meet the expected competition from US and European pharmaceutical multinationals such as Eli Lilly, Pfizer, Boots and SmithKline Beecham.
The company has recently formed a joint venture with the Global Finance House to set up 2,000 pharmacies in the Mena region, with an investment of Dh3bn. It is also building seven new plants in the region – Afghanistan, Morocco, Sudan, Lebanon, Yemen and Iran – with an investment of Dh1.2bn and participation from the local companies.
“The firm’s local partners will spend Dh700m in these projects,” he said.
“We have a very strong balance sheet and the increased equity base could be leveraged to raise money from banks. We have assets worth several billions of dirhams and if we require any bank will be ready to lend money to us,” he said.
“This year has been very good for us. We are making profit for the past 15 years.”
The CEO said the operational profit of the company increased to Dh111m from Dh102m reported in 2006. While the profit generated from Julphar amounted to Dh105m, the earnings from investments, especially in the UAE and Kuwait, amounted to Dh36m, and Dh60m from the transfer of subsidiaries to Planet.
Planet Pharmaceuticals LLC, a joint venture between Julphar [Gulf Pharmaceuticals] and Global Investment House, acquired the company’s pharmaceutical distribution arm in the UAE.
The earnings from subsidiaries amounted to Dh6m, he added.
“We expect to grow by 50 per cent in the next three years to reach a sales target of Dh2.2b by 2010.
“Ninety per cent of our exports are to the Mena and Asian regions and we are not targeting the European or American markets. One of the plants under construction will be operational within a few months,” he said.
“All our employees are shareholders in Julphar and we intend to give shares to our pharmacists and doctors as well.”
The company has been a major player in the Arab pharmaceuticals market, estimated at $8bn (Dh29bn), which is growing by 10-11 per cent annually.
Julphar, the first pharmaceutical company to be set up in the country, is one of the largest pharma units in the Middle East.
With more than 800 formulations and 184 brands under its flag, the company has products in every major therapeutic category.
Julphar’s product range includes analgesics, anti-malarial, antibiotic, anti-amoebic, antihistamines, vitamins and steroids.
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