Indonesia’s Pharma Champion Optimistic of COVID-Related Growth

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With a market value of USD 5.2 billion, Kalbe Farma has consolidated into Indonesia’s undisputed national pharma champion and has established a footprint in many ASEAN countries as well as in Africa. Today, the largest publicly listed pharmaceutical company in Southeast Asia is aiming to seize on their COVID-19-related partnership and nutritional and logistics businesses to ensure continued growth.

 

The valuation and success of the company comes to no surprise when taken into account the massive population of the country and the size of the economy; it is the fourth most populated country on earth with over 270 million inhabitants and has the 7th largest economy in terms of GDP.

 

Unlike many global competitors, over one third of Kalbe’s revenue comes from its lucrative distribution and logistics division. Almost another third comes from its nutrition division, the rest being driven by pharmaceuticals (21 percent) and consumer health (15 percent).

 

The nutritional business is so successful that last year Bloomberg reported that Kalbe was weighing an IPO for their Sanghiang Perkasa division, hoping to raise USD 500 million. But it was postponed earlier this year due to concerns over the valuation.

 

Kalbe’s pharmaceutical portfolio ranges from unbranded generic drugs for the “mass-market segment”, to branded generics and licensed drugs for the country’s “rising middle and premium segments.”

 

The company’s latest financial results underwhelmed investors after posting a modest 3.8 percent increase of revenue during Q1 of 2020. However, the group expressed optimism and projected an annual increase of 5 percent to 6 percent in both sales and net profit, resting its hopes, in large part, on business related to the Covid-19 pandemic. “Based on the developments in the first quarter, we are confident that we can grow beyond our current projection,” said Bernadus Karmin Winata, Kalbe’s finance and accounting head.

 

Indonesia’s difficult economic situation should also be considered as the country had to endure its first recession in 20 years in 2020.

 

Earlier this year, it was announced that global private equity firm General Atlantic will invest USD 55 million in Kalbe Genexine Biologics a joint venture between Kalbe and South Korean biotech firm Genexine. Back in April, Kalbe Farma pledged to buy 10 million doses of Genexine’s COVID-19 vaccine if it is proven to be safe and effective. Under the agreement, Kalbe will pay for the Phase 2 and 3 clinical trials in Indonesia.

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