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Planning 10 percent expansion of field force in FY23: C.S. Muralidharan, Sun Pharma

Buoyed by the success of it's field force expansion two years ago, Sun Pharma is planning another round of expansion in the current fiscal to enhance brand focus.

May 31, 2022 / 05:58 PM IST

Underlining that India remains a key market for Sun Pharma’s growth, chief financial officer (CFO) C.S. Muralidharan on Tuesday said the company is looking to enhance its brand focus and plans to raise its field force headcount by 10 percent this fiscal.

“The field force expansion from about two years ago has met with success and in order to enhance our brand focus, we are planning on our expansion of 10 percent of field force in the current fiscal which is FY23,” Muralidharan said in an interview to Moneycontrol.

Talking about Sun Pharma’s growth in 2022, Muralidharan said, “I consider FY22 a very good year as the consolidated top line grew by about 15.6 percent. More importantly, EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation) margin grew 170 basis points in the period, with a growth of 23.6 percent, and adjusted profit grew 29 percent excluding exceptional items. This robust performance is supported by record double-digit growth across all geographies during the year. For the first time, the company’s top line crossed the $5-billion mark along with adjusted net profit also crossing $1 billion.”

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The strong performance in FY22, Muralidharan said, was supported by good ramp-up in global specialty sales of products like Ilumya, Cequa and Odomzo, which stood at about $674 million, a growth of 39 percent over the previous year.

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Asked if the company has responded to the US Food and Drug Administration’s observation on Sun’s Halol, Gujarat, plant, Muralidharan said, “Towards the completion of the inspection, the US FDA had issued 10 observations. We are filing a response to the US FDA on the corrective action to be undertaken to address these observations within the stipulated time. So at this point of time, we will not be able to disclose any further information on Halol.”

Muralidharan said Sun was making efforts to offset the effect of high inflation and resultant rise in costs through improvement in efficiencies and cost optimisation.

Also read: Pharma industry faces inflation-induced slowdown: Alembic Pharmaceutical CFO

It is not as if the company is focused on India alone, though. Muralidharan said Sun Pharma has invested for growth in China and Japan. “In Japan, we have good business. We launched our specialty product Ilumya, which is performing well there. And we have put building blocks in terms of development business in China and it should gain momentum as we go forward,” he said.

Research is a priority at Sun. “We also focus on our API (active pharmaceutical ingredient) to augment vertical integration,” which will enable the company get its products to the market faster and be better positioned on the price front, he added.

The Sun CFO said the contribution of COVID-related products to the company's top line has been negligible to a large extent.

“From a focus perspective, we have been investing in a specialty pipeline. All our key specialty products are in growth phase and we have enough headroom to further grow and maintain the traction on the growth movement of all our key specialty products and ramp up our global specialty revenues,” he said.
Ayushman Kumar Covers health and pharma for MoneyControl.
first published: May 31, 2022 05:58 pm
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