January 16, 2013 / 1:50 PM / 7 years ago

Bosnian drug firm Bosnalijek sees profits up 15 pct in 2013

SARAJEVO, Jan 16 (Reuters) - Bosnia’s top generic drugs maker, Bosnalijek, expects a rise of more than 15 percent in net profits this year after an 11 percent gain in 2012 on growing exports, its general manager said on Wednesday.

Nedzad Polic said Bosnalijek last year posted a net profit of 6.55 million Bosnian marka ($4.5 million) on sales up 5 percent at 111.8 million marka.

Its exports, mainly to Russia, amounted to more than 65 million marka or more than 10 percent up from last year.

“This is the second year in a row in which sales on international markets exceed those made on the domestic market,” Polic told reporters, adding that Bosnalijek will remain focused on developing its international business.

He forecast a rise in sales of 15 percent this year and 11 percent and 10 percent in 2014 and 2015, respectively.

Bosnalijek plans to invest 90 million marka to improve its drugs quality control system to meet international standards and build a new line for non sterile drugs compounding, Polic said.

Bosnia’s Muslim-Croat federation government which holds a 19.3 percent stake in Bosnalijek had in recent years tried to sell it unsuccessfully. It has not yet decided whether to put up its stake for sale this year.

Last September the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation (IFC) sold its 8.8 percent stake in the firm, with its shares acquired via the Sarajevo Stock Exchange (SASE) by a Luxembourg-based company, Haden S.A.

Haden is now the biggest single stake-holder with 23 percent. Other shareholders are Bosnalijek employees, investment funds and the Libyan government.

However, Polic said he was concerned that neither the regional government nor the company had been able to approach Haden S.A. and discuss its future strategy in relation to Bosnalijek.

“I do not believe in conspiracy theories but this takeover is quite unusual,” he said. Bosnalijek shares traded flat at 14 Bosnian marka on Wednesday. ($1=1.47 Bosnian marka) (Reporting By Maja Zuvela; Editing by Greg Mahlich)

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