Grifols shares soar as plasma collection reaches pre-pandemic levels

MADRID, May 6 (Reuters) - Spanish pharmaceuticals company Grifols’ shares soared on Friday as the company reported the volumes of blood plasma it collected reached pre-pandemic levels in the first quarter.

The shares were up 7.3% in mid-morning trading on Friday, while the blue chip IBEX-35 index was down 0.5%.

Grifols’ collection of the blood plasma it uses to make haematology medicines, collapsed during the COVID-19 pandemic when its collection centres around the world were closed, hitting its net profit, which fell 70% in 2021.

As a result Grifols lost around 50% of its market value since the COVID-19 pandemic started in 2020 when its shares were trading at record levels.

Grifols said on Friday plasma collections in the first quarter grew 16% from the same period in 2021, and 9% from the previous quarter, while revenue grew by mid-to-high single digit.

“The primary engines of growth were recent openings and recently-acquired plasma centres; larger plasma volumes from regular centres; and the achievement of greater efficiencies,” the company said in a statement, adding the efficiencies are likely to further boost plasma collection volumes.

Grifols closed 2021 with a debt of 5.8 billion euros ($6.1 billion), the equivalent of five times its earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization. The company said it intends to cut its debt to a ratio of 4 through cost-cutting, lower capital expenditure, no cash dividend and refraining from acquisitions. ($1 = 0.9455 euros) (Reporting by Emma Pinedo, editing by Inti Landauro and Emelia Sithole-Matarise)