Bosnian drug firm Bosnalijek posts Q1 flat profit

SARAJEVO, May 13 (Reuters) - Bosnian pharmaceuticals company Bosnalijek BSNL.SJ reported flat net profit in the first quarter of 1.1 million Bosnian marka on revenue down 11 percent at 21.7 million marka ($14 million).

Bosnalijek said on Thursday the drop in revenue was due to a sharp fall in domestic drug prices, but predicted flat revenue in 2010 as a whole.

The sell-off of the government’s 19.26 percent stake in the country’s largest drug firm will be carried out on Friday via an auction on the Sarajevo Stock Exchange (SASE).

Bosnalijek’s shareholders also include the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the World Bank’s private equity arm, and employees, investment funds and the Libyan government, which in 2008 swapped $12.9 million of government debt for a 8.7 percent stake.

Local media have reported that IFC may follow suit and sell its stake in Bosnalijek and that U.S.-based drug maker Alvogen Group is eyeing a possible investment.

Bosnalijek was trading down 0.6 percent 17.9 marka.

The company, which controls a quarter of the local market, recorded revenue of 107 million marka in 2009, of which exports, mainly to eastern Europe, accounted for 37 percent. (Reporting by Daria Sito-Sucic; Editing by Adam Tanner and David Holmes) (1$=1.542 Bosnian marka)