Beximco Pharma’s stock went on a tailspin, hitting the floor price at one point only to regain the lost ground later in the day
Beximco Pharmaceuticals, which has been having an incredible run at the bourse amid the pandemic, took a beating on Monday as news emerged of an embargo on the export of the Oxford University-AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine by Serum Institute of India (SII) by the neighbouring country’s government.
SII has been contracted to make 1 billion doses of the vaccine for developing nations, of which Beximco Pharma would be procuring 30 million doses on behalf of the Bangladesh government.
Earlier in the day, The Associated Press had reported that India has barred Serum from exporting the vaccine until its population has been inoculated.
The vaccine was granted emergency authorisation by the Indian regulator on Sunday, but on the condition that Serum Institute doesnot export the shots to ensure that vulnerable populations in India are protected, Adar Poonawalla, the chief executive officer of SII, said in a phone interview with The Associated Press.
He said that the company also has been barred from selling the vaccine on the private market.
“We can only give (the vaccines) to the government of India at the moment,” Poonawalla said, adding the decision was also made to prevent hoarding.
The news sent Beximco Pharma’s stock on a tailspin: it hit its floor price at one point, with no buyers interested in buying it.
Later, Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen clarified that Bangladesh was excluded from the ban, with the first shipment due at the end of the month.
Reuters ran another report based on an interview with Poonawalla in which he said exports might be possible after supplying the Indian government with an initial 100 million doses.
Both the disclosure calmed the investors’ nerves, with the stock starting to claw back the losses.
Beximco Pharma, which was the second-most traded stock on Monday, eventually closed the day 3 per cent lower at Tk 203.2 after touching the floor price of Tk 191.2.
“The first shipment of Covid-19 vaccines from Serum will arrive on time,” Rabbur Reza, chief operating officer of Beximco Pharma, told Dhaka Tribune on Monday.
As per the letter of intent, Beximco will get the vaccine within 30 days of final approval from the regulatory bodies, he said, adding that the local pharma giant has submitted all necessary documents to the Directorate General of Drug Administration on Thursday.
“Serum will produce around two billion doses of vaccine. We need 30 million doses. That’s nothing compared to that,” he added.
Beximco Pharma though is having its moment in the sun amid the pandemic.
After grabbing headlines globally in May for being the first company to market remdesivir, the antiviral drug that has shown promise in treating COVID-19 patients, the local pharmaceutical company in August announced a tie-up with Serum to be the “exclusive distributor” of Oxford’s Covid-19 vaccine in Bangladesh.
So it was expected that the good press would translate into its financial performance. And turns out it did.
The company posted a 24.7 per cent higher profit of Tk 108 crore between July and September.
During the period, its sales increased 9.8 per cent year-on-year to Tk 692 crore, the company said in its interim first-quarter financial statement for its 2020-21 financial year. Beximco Pharma’s reporting year runs from July to June.
This comes after the local pharma giant reported a 16.6 per cent higher profit of Tk 354.4 crore for the financial year that ended on June 30.