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Wockhardt to raise up to $500 m for acquisitions abroad — Q4 net dips 23 pc to Rs 51 cr

Our Bureau

Mumbai , Feb. 14

EVEN as it sits on a kitty of $100 million, Wockhardt Ltd has got the green signal from its board to raise up to $500 million (about Rs 2,208 crore), primarily to support its acquisition plans in Europe and the US.

"It is only an enabling provision which the board has proposed. Armed with this provision, we can move in quickly as and when opportunities arise. We have already said we are looking at M&A (merger and acquisition) opportunities in Europe and the US," Mr Habil Khorakiwala, Wockhardt's Chairman, told analysts here on Tuesday.

Q4 and year-end 2005: Wockhardt recorded a 23 per cent drop in profit after tax at Rs 51.4 crore for the three months ended December 31, 2005, compared to Rs 67.1 crore for the corresponding period in the previous year. Total income decreased to Rs 233.1 crore (Rs 243.8 crore), the company told the Bombay Stock Exchange.

The drop in net profit and sales during the fourth quarter was attributed to global and local pressures on the business of active pharmaceutical ingredients (API), the bulk drug that is used to make a medicine.

The board of directors has also recommended a 100 per cent dividend, of Rs 5 per equity share, for 2005.

Wockhardt has posted a profit after tax of Rs 238.5 crore (Rs 207.9 crore) for the year ended December 31, 2005. Total income was at Rs 984.1 crore (Rs 876.2 crore).

Consolidated results: Meanwhile, the group has posted a profit after tax of Rs 73 crore (Rs 63.1 crore) for the quarter under review. Total income was up at Rs 368.6 crore (Rs 362.3 crore).

The group has posted profit after tax of Rs 257.1 crore (Rs 213.5 crore) for the year ended December 31, 2005. Total income has increased to Rs 1,430.1 crore (Rs 1,267.4 crore).

"Our investments in organisation and people in two critical growth areas are now paying back — our US business has grown by more than 50 per cent, and the biotechnology business has grown by 54 per cent," Mr Khorakiwala said.

Wockhardt shares closed at Rs 508.95, down 3.27 per cent on BSE.

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