Square Pharmaceuticals Ltd – the flagship company of Square Group –continued its growth in sales and profit through the Covid-19 pandemic on the back of a growing demand for drugs.
In the January-March quarter of this year, the pharma giant reported a 5% growth in revenue to Tk1,479.26 crore, and a 12.74% increase in profit to Tk386.20 crore, compared to the same period of the previous year.
Among its competitors in the capital market, Beximco Pharma posted an 11% year-on-year quarterly growth in revenue to Tk736 crore, and a 62% rise in profit to Tk146.89 crore.
In the first quarter of this year, Beximco imported 70 lakh doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine for Covid-19, and earned Tk77 from per dose.
Renata, another drug manufacturer in the country, reported a 1% growth in revenue to Tk635.58 crore and a 12% increase in profit to Tk124.88 crore during the period.
The company has applied to the country's drug administration for approval to import the Moderna vaccine.
In the first three quarters of the current fiscal year, Square Pharma's revenue stood at Tk4,387.19 crore, net profit at Tk1,163.16 crore, and earnings per share at Tk13.12.
Launched in 1958, Square Pharmaceuticals emerged as the industry leader in the mid-1980s, and got listed on local stock exchanges in the mid-1990s.
The largest drugmaker of the country pioneered exports of medicines from Bangladesh in 1987. Currently, it exports antibiotics and other pharmaceutical products to 42 countries.
The pharma giant controls 17% of the market.
Meanwhile, Square Pharma is going to be the first Bangladeshi drugmaker to produce medicines in a foreign country. It will go into production in Kenya by August this year.
The company has already completed construction of its manufacturing plant in Nairobi at a cost of Tk170 crore.
Square hopes to get hold of the $30 million drug market in Kenya and five other East African countries – Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi, Uganda, and South Sudan – and fulfil the unmet demand for medicine in those countries.
All infrastructure work, including installation of all necessary equipment in the factory, is complete, said Square Pharma Managing Director Tapan Chowdhury at a webinar on Wednesday.
"Today [Wednesday] we had a meeting with the health minister of Kenya. We will be able to start production in mid-July or early August this year," he added.
Last year, the company invested Tk250 crore to expand its production capacity to meet growing demand for its products both at home and abroad.
Square Pharma has paid 47% cash and 5% stock dividends to its shareholders for the financial year 2019-20.
On Thursday, Square Pharma shares rose 0.24% to Tk209.20 each at the Dhaka Stock Exchange.