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Bumper sales boost Jordanian drug maker Hikma

Insulin-maker Hikma Pharmaceuticals reports surging sales growth in the Middle East as it weighs up several bids for its injectables unit.

Sales of insulin and other drugs soared at Hikma Pharmaceuticals last year and it received a number of bids for its injectables division as demand rose in the United States and the Middle East.

Sales at the Jordanian drug maker have risen substantially as rising wealth levels in the Middle East bring with them a subsequent increase in the prevalence of diseases such as diabetes.

Hikma reported earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation of US$225.2 million (Dh827.1m) last year, an increase of 35.9 per cent compared with 2011. Revenues rose 20.8 per cent to $1.1 billion during the period.

The company said it had also received a number of bids for its injectable-drug division, which is the second-biggest in the US by volume.

"We are undertaking a review of the strategic options for the injectables business," Hikma said. "We have received a number of unsolicited expressions of interest for the business and will consider the best option for shareholders."

The company had benefited from strong growth across the Middle East and North Africa, Said Darwazah, Hikma's chief executive, said.

"In the Mena [Middle East and North Africa] region, our businesses are thriving as a result of the investment we have been making to strengthen our manufacturing and sales operations and our ongoing commitment to building our businesses in these markets," he said.

In January, Hikma finalised an acquisition of the Egyptian Company for Pharmaceuticals and Chemical Industries for $20.5m.

However, the company said its generic drugs business had been hit by efforts to retool its oral dosage facility in Eatontown, New Jersey, to comply with a warning letter from the US food and drug administration received earlier this year.

"Following completion of a strategic review, bringing this facility back into regulatory compliance remains the priority, as does returning it to profitability," the company said. "At the same time, we are evaluating the alternative options for this business."

The company's London-listed shares rose 0.3 per cent to 978.50 pence each in afternoon trading yesterday, and have gained more than 28 per cent so far this year.

The improved performance at Hikma has been matched by Gulf Pharmaceutical Industries, the Ras Al Khaimah-based company also known as Julphar, which reported an increase in net profits of 17.6 per cent to Dh200m during 2012 compared with a year earlier. Revenues rose by 15.2 per cent to Dh1.1bn during the same period.



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