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Loss grows for NZ drug-maker

NZN 23/11/2016 Sean Martin

Auckland-based drug-maker AFT Pharmaceuticals has almost doubled its first-half loss after ramping up research and development and launching over-the-counter products in Australia and Singapore.

Its loss grew to $11 million from $5.8 million and the figures confirm a market trading update the company supplied earlier this month.

Cash on hand dropped to $16m from $28m the previous year and the company said it had the financial flexibility to increase cash reserves with further drawn downs available on its long-term debt facility though it currently has no plans to do so.

Operating revenue rose 1 per cent to $29.8m in the six months to the end of September, it said.

Australia is now the company's main market with revenue up 14.6 per cent during the first half to $14.6m while sales in New Zealand dipped 10 per cent to $13.5m.

Timing issues and product supply shortages limited sales growth in its home markets in the first half, the company said.

However, it anticipates sales accelerating in the second half, as they do historically due to seasonality, with more over-the-counter sales following launches and promotions and the introduction of a significant number of new hospital products in Australia where additional contracts for over $A3m per annum have been secured.

AFT's main product, the patented combination painkiller, Maxigesic, is now being sold in six countries and it's about to be launched into a further eight countries.

The company it expected to hit break even in the 2018/2019 financial years from increased higher margin product sales in home markets, higher licensing income from existing and new agreements and increased Maxigesic sales from existing and new markets.

AFT shares are currently trading at $3.02 compared to the $2.80 price of its December 2015 initial public offering.

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