Pharma major Ranbaxy on Wednesday beat street estimates with a four-fold year-on-year jump in first quarter net profit at Rs 1,247 crore, helped by strong sales including that of its cholesterol lowering drug Atorvastatin in the US market, and forex gains.
Its net sales in Jan-March quarter surged 73% to Rs 3,695.4 crore.
Analysts on average were expecting Ranbaxy to report a net profit of Rs 408 crore on revenue of Rs 3720 crore.
Separately, the company said it will set up a new green-field manufacturing plant in Nigeria to further strengthen its presence in that country. This plant, which will come up by 2013 will be its second facility in that country and is being set up to upgrade liquid manufacturing capacity.
Ranbaxy, which has production plant in South Africa, opened a facility at Casablanca in Morocco in March. The Morocco plant positions it to access USD 1 billion pharma market in that country, it had said.
The new plants are a part of its focus on emerging markets, CEO and MD Arun Sawhney said in a conference call. It wants to "make on-ground presence" and be present in these markets in "some respectable measure," he said.
Meanwhile, the company's cholesterol lowering drug Atorvastatin, a copy of Pfizer's blockbuster drug Lipitor, seems to have tasted huge success in quick time. The drug was launched in the US market in December and already has garnered 47% market share, according to Sawhney. Analysts were expecting it to get around 30% market share.
Ranbaxy further launched Atorvastatin in Australia and some European markets in Jan-March, giving a further boost to sales.
Ranbaxy has the highest market share for its copy of Caduet (a mix of Amlodipine and Atorvastatin) too, he said. This drug was also launched in US in December.
Helped by the Atorvastatin launch and strong base business, Ranbaxy's North America sales more than doubled to Rs 2,093.4 crore in the first quarter.
Its sales in India including consumer healthcare and Sri Lanka rose 13% year-on-year to Rs 500.2 crore in the quarter.
Ranbaxy's Europe sales rose 11.5%, while sales in Asia Pacific, Latin America, Africa and Middle East were up 25%.
Apart from strong sales, Ranbaxy, owned by Japan's Daiichi Sankyo, had other income of Rs 136.6 crore, nearly double than a year ago in the quarter. It also had foreign exchange gain of Rs 344.7 crore in Jan-March, which drove up profits.
The company's EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) was up 138% to Rs 1,015.2 crore, helped by higher sales of first-to-file generic products like Atorvastatin, higher margins in base business and control of costs, Sawhney said.
Ranbaxy shares closed up over 4% at Rs 512.90 on NSE on Wednesday.