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AFT Pharma confident despite losses

NZN 23/05/2017 Rebecca Howard

AFT Pharmaceuticals, which manufactures the Maxigesic painkiller, has reported a full-year loss but expects to significantly narrow those deficits this year and return to profitability in 2018/19 .

The company reported a net loss of $18.4 million in the 12 months ended March 31, from a loss of $13.3m in the prior year.

Operating revenue rose to $69.2m, meeting guidance and up from $64m in the prior year as Maxigesic tablet sales have increased from 22 million tablets to 74 million tablets.

The results reflect the strategy of expanding in the home markets of Australia, New Zealand and Southeast Asia, while continuing the investment in research and development to also grow international revenues, says chief executive Hartley Atkinson.

The company said the timing of a return to profit would depend on sales growth in Australia, new launch dates and additional licensing agreements in larger territories.

Australia will continue to be key with the regulatory change restricting all medicines containing codeine to prescription-only from next year.

Maxigesic is a combination of Paracetamol and Ibuprofen and the codeine switch will drive sales growth in Australia, AFT said.

Around 750 million tablets of codeine based over the counter products were sold in Australia every year.

Australian sales grew 19 per cent to $37.1m and the market now makes up 54 per cent of operating revenue. New Zealand revenue recovered a little in the second half to end the year 6 per cent down at $29.2m and now represents 42 per cent of revenue.

Southeast Asia revenue jumped by 55 per cent to $1m and the market makes up 1.5 per cent of its group operating revenue, with sales predominantly in Singapore where product registration is generally quicker to obtain.

AFT shares last traded at $2.34 and have dropped 15 per cent so far this year.

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