Financial Daily from THE HINDU group of publications
Tuesday, May 14, 2002
Astra plans commercial cultivation of herbs
BANGALORE, May 13
ASTRAZENECA Pharma India plans to expand into commercial cultivation of medicinal plants.
A part of the vacant land on the sprawling 70-acre factory premises at Yelahanka near here will be used to grow medicinal herbs on a commercial basis.
However, the first move would be to get the company armed with an enabling provision later this month, official sources said.
A product portfolio exercise, which began last September, identified 14 key brands for focus. These constitute 90 per cent of the turnover.
Based on that, earlier this year, AstraZeneca introduced two new products - antibiotic Meronem and anti-cancer drug Zoladex.
Meanwhile, the Swedish parent, Astra Pharmaceuticals AB, will, on May 17, begin its rescheduled exercise to acquire 43.5 per cent of the shares in AstraZeneca.
The open offer will last from May 23 to June 21 and be completed in July. The exercise, originally scheduled for April 29-May 28, was facilitated last week after the Kerala High Court vacated the interim stay on the offer; the case is to be next heard in June. Astra has offered Rs 375 per share.
Only in February last year, Astra bought out its long-term partner IDL to become the majority equity holder with equity of 56.499 per cent.
For the nine months of 2001, AZPI has declared a dividend of 30 per cent amounting to Rs 1.5 crore. Last year, it offered a dividend of 40 per cent for the entire 12 months.
For the first nine months of 2001, sales were down to Rs 65.5 crore and PBT was Rs 5.1 crore, lower by 65.7 per cent. Net profit fell to Rs 2.2 crore.
Sales were 10.9 per cent lower due to destocking at wholesalers' level.
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