January 22, 2009 / 1:57 PM / 10 years ago

UPDATE 1-India's Ranbaxy posts Q4 loss on forex, U.S. woes

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NEW DELHI, Jan 22 (Reuters) - Ranbaxy Laboratories Ltd RANB.BO, India’s top drugmaker by sales, reported a net loss for the second consecutive quarter and also for 2008, hit by forex and hedging losses, and problems in the U.S. market.

Ranbaxy, in which Japan’s Daiichi Sankyo (4568.T) owns about 64 percent, has been hit by allegations it sold misbranded or adulterated drugs in the United States.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has cited record keeping and operational problems with the company. It banned about 30 Ranbaxy-made generic drugs in September.

Investigators are probing whether Ranbaxy submitted false data to the FDA to support generic drug applications, or tried to hide manufacturing violations.

Ranbaxy has denied allegations it sold misbranded or adulterated drugs.

Chief Executive Malvinder Singh told reporters on Thursday the company was “working closely” with the FDA and was hopeful of turning profitable in 2009, but declined to give a specific guidance.

Last week, in Tokyo, Singh said his company was looking at acquiring manufacturing facilities in the United States and in other countries that are already approved by the FDA.

Ranbaxy posted a net loss of 6.8 billion rupees ($139 million) for its fiscal fourth-quarter ended Dec. 31, compared with a profit of 1.88 billion rupees a year earlier.

The company closed the year with losses of 9.15 billion rupees, compared with profits of 7.87 billion rupees in 2007.

A weaker rupee, which fell 19 percent against the U.S. dollar in 2008, increased Ranbaxy’s foreign currency liabilities.

Ranbaxy adopted a new accounting practice in the December quarter, which required it account for its forex options, resulting in a $161 million loss for the year, it said in a statement.

The company had to write down $59 million due to U.S.-related problems, it said.

Shares in Ranbaxy, which has a market value of $1.6 billion, fell 9 percent to 186.10 rupees ahead of the results, in a Mumbai market that gained 0.4 percent.

The shares fell about 41 percent in 2008. (Reporting by Devidutta Tripathy, Editing by Mark Williams)

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