KUALA LUMPUR: Pharmaniaga Bhd has allocated a higher capital expenditure (capex) of RM295mil for the financial year 2022 ending Dec 31 (FY22) as compared to RM106.9mil in FY21.
Its chief financial officer Norai’ni Mohamed Ali said the capex allocation would be largely for logistics and distribution which accounted for 61%, followed by the manufacturing sector (36%) and its businesses in Indonesia (3%).
“For logistics and distribution, we are looking at the expansion of a new warehouse, central distribution centre for the private sector, digitalisation, purchase of software for long-term medication project and migration system and purchase and replacement of existing warehouse and office equipment,” she said during a media briefing on the company’s third-quarter ended Sept 30 (Q3’21) results.
For the manufacturing division, she said that the group would use half of the allocation to invest in halal vaccines and halal insulin projects.
“Not to forget our Indonesian counterpart, we are also investing in automation and digitalisation as well as the upgrade of various computer and lab equipment,” Norai’ni added.
The pharmaceutical group’s net profit surged more than 3,300% to RM49.84mil for Q3’21 from RM1.44mil a year ago on the back of higher revenue.
In a filing with Bursa Malaysia, Pharmaniaga said its revenue for Q3 jumped to RM2.13bil from RM624.80mil a year ago, driven by growth across its concession, non-concession and Indonesian businesses.
Meanwhile, Pharmaniaga group managing director Datuk Zulkarnain Md Eusope said the future earnings growth for the pharmaceutical group would stem from the manufacturing of halal vaccines and halal insulin.
For halal insulin manufacturing, he added that the group would produce three insulin products locally at its high-technology plant in Pharmaniaga Lifesciences in Puchong, allocating a capex of RM60mil for equipment and facility renovation.
It plans to start commercial production of the halal insulin products by 2025.
“Overall, our next three-to-five-year strategic plan is very solid and on a strong footing, well planned for expansion of the market share and business growth, both locally and internationally.
“We have a few vaccine experts in our company and we have discussed with our partners in a few countries for the antigen (development).
“Now, we are moving forward to strengthen our footprint in the vaccine and insulin business while being in talks with other countries to export our ‘fill and finish’ vaccines, specifically Myanmar and African countries subject to regulatory approvals,” he said.
Zulkarnain added that a new vaccine may be developed by China’s Sinovac Biotech Ltd to fight against the new Omicron variant should its ongoing detailed study reveal there is a need to change the vaccine.
“Should there be a need to change the vaccine, there will be a new vaccine made by Sinovac Biotech Ltd.
“It will be able to rapidly advance that development and launch mass-production of new vaccines to meet the vaccine demand.
“As for now, we understand that Sinovac Biotech is still maintaining the Sinovac vaccine to fight against the new variant, as it has been proven to be the best vaccine to fight against the previous Gamma and Delta variants,” he said.
Currently, Sinovac Biotech is closely monitoring the clinical study progress related to the Omicron variant and is actively collecting and obtaining information as well as samples related to the new variants through its global partner network.
Pharmaniaga, the sole distributor of Sinovac Covid-19 vaccine in Malaysia, has supplied a total of 20.4 million doses of Sinovac in the shortest period of time of four and a half months, which supported Malaysia to be among the world’s fastest vaccinating countries.
Malaysia is one of the five countries in the world to be given the rights to fill and finish manufacture the Sinovac Covid-19 vaccine.
Moving forward, Zulkarnain said that the group was eyeing to export the Sinovac vaccine to other markets with low vaccination rates, including South-East Asian countries and African countries.
“Our fill and finish process of the vaccine will continue in 2022 to cater to international demand,” he added.
Pharmaniaga has inked contracts with Myanmar’s private hospitals to supply a total of 200,000 doses of the Sinovac vaccine.