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This pharma stock has risen over 170% in 17 months

SI Reporter/Mumbai 17 May 19 | 10:57 AM

Procter & Gamble Health (formerly Merck) shares were trading higher for the sixth straight day, up 4 per cent in early morning trade at Rs 4,389, also its new high on the BSE, after the company reported strong net profit growth in March quarter (Q1CY19).

The pharmaceutical company’s profit after tax rose 79 per cent at Rs 40.7 crore in Q1CY19 driven by high interest income and operational efficiencies.  Total revenue grew 22.2 per cent at Rs 249 crore against Rs 204 crore in previous year quarter. The strong revenue growth driven by a strong performance across brands, growth in exports, higher interest income and improved execution.

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The management said with a brand portfolio backed by science and trusted by doctors, pharmacists and consumers, and the best of consumer health capabilities and cultures, the company was working towards creating a much stronger presence in India's fast-growing consumer health industry.

Last year, Procter & Gamble successfully acquired Merck’s consumer health business globally and in India.

Procter & Gamble Health is one of India's largest vitamins, minerals and supplements (VMS) companies that manufactures and markets over-the-counter products, vitamins, minerals, and supplements products for a healthy lifestyle and improved quality of life.

Thus far in the current calendar year 2019, the market price of Merck has rallied 42 per cent on the BSE. In comparison, the S&P BSE Sensex was up 4 per cent, while the S&P BSE Healthcare slipped 5 per cent during the same period.

In previous entire calendar year 2018, the stock zoomed 133 per cent, against 7 per cent rise in the benchmark index and 6 declined in the pharma sector index.

Next week, on Thursday, May 23, 2019, the stock of Merck will turn ex-dividend for Rs 440 per share.

The company’s board, on February 27, had declared a dividend of Rs 440 per share for the financial year ended December 31, 2018, which includes a one-time special dividend of Rs 416 per share on account of gain on business transfer of biopharma, performance materials and life sciences (BPL business).

Post the divestment of its low margin business, the company is left mainly with consumer products (OTC) and vitamins, which have strong positioning domestic market (key brands – Neurobion, Evion, Livogen, Polybion etc.).

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