Cipla exports drugs worth Shs33.3b in three months

Thursday July 9 2020

Cipla has been seeking to expand its export

Cipla has been seeking to expand its export market to improve returns to shareholders. Photo | File  

By Dorothy Nakaweesi

Cipla Quality Chemicals exported drugs worth $9m (Shs33.3b) in the period between April and June, according to details obtained by Daily Monitor.
This was 90 per cent of the drug maker’s consolidated sales, which stood at $10m (Shs37b) in the period under review.

Details also indicate that only 10 per cent of the sales were made within Uganda.
Cipla, which last month also started exporting drugs to Botswana, has been seeking to expand its market as it pushes to lift itself from a streak of losses that have dampened the company stock price since it listed on the Stock Exchange in 2018.

Details indicate that in June, Cipla exported 37 tonnes of anti-retrovirals (ARVs) worth $4m (Shs15b) to Botswana and another consignment worth $3m (Shs11.2b) is expected to be exported to the same country this month.
Mr Nevin Bradford, the Cipla chief executive officer, confirmed the company had added Botswana on its export list in addition to South Africa, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Rwanda in the last half of the year.

“We have added Botswana to our list of markets in Africa,” he told Daily Monitor yesterday, noting they were determined to achieve their ‘Africa for Africa’ agenda that will make the company a preference across the continent.

In the second half of the year, he said, Cipla will seek more export opportunities in southern Africa such as Mozambique and Malawi and in East Africa in Kenya. “We [already] have orders from some African countries. We are working towards delivering them,” he said without giving more details.

Mr Bradford also noted that they have plans to expand within the next one or two years given an increase in demand and orders.
Cipla has been under pressure to improve its revenues after going through a volatile experience since it listed on the stock exchange in September 2018.

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The company, for the period ended March 31, posted a Shs36b loss due to a pileup of receivables, especially in Zambia while total assets dropped to Shs248b from Shs287b.
Cipla has also seen its stock drop to Shs102, which is almost half of its Shs256.5 initial public offering price.

In May Cipla exported 150,000 doses to South Africa, adding on an earlier shipment of 300,000 packs that had been delivered in March.
Earlier in February, Cipla had submitted its factory details to the South African Health Product Regulatory Authority as it sought approval of drug exports to the southern African country.

The factory was subsequently approved as a drugs manufacturing site, a process that opened up an opportunity to grow its export market.
However, details of the cost of the shipment were not made available.

Botswana, which has one of the highest HIV prevalence rates in Africa had been experiencing a supply deficit of about 2.3 million doses of anti-retroviral and an audit was conducted on the capacity of Cipla to supply the country.

Cipla, according to Mr Bradford passed the audit and has been able to meet the country’s demand of the fixed-dose combination of tenofovir, lamivudine and dolutegravir.
“Botswana faced a potentially critical situation in terms of shortages of essential medicine. We are proud that we are to rise to the challenge.”

Shipped
Cipla has since May shipped three consignments of anti-retrovirals to South Africa and the addition of Botswana is likely to strengthen the country’s competitive advantage in the southern Africa market.

This, Mr Bradfold said, will broaden Cipla and Uganda’s capacity in the drugs sector, noting that there were more negotiations with other southern Africa countries to open up their markets to drug exports from Uganda.

dnakaweesi@ug.nationmedia.com

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