Pharma plans

New Stada owners cut dividend to fuel growth

Pharmaceutical Production At Stada Arzneimittel AG
Keep taking the medicine. Source: Bloomberg

Why would a patient or healthcare provider choose to buy an expensive branded drug when the exact same medicine is available as a cheaper, non-proprietry version?

That’s the premise that pharmaceutical companies producing so-called generic drugs, or chemicals that are no longer patented, have long exploited. And it’s made them big bucks, especially in developing markets.

But it’s an increasingly tough proposition for German generics specialist Stada, one of Europe’s biggest suppliers of generics, which has had a tough year. A bloody on-off takeover battle saw it eventually acquired by US private equity firms Bain Capital and Cinven for €5.4 billion, but not without the loss under a cloud of its chief executive and chief financial officer. And on Thursday it announced in its latest figures that profits fell by 1 percent in 2017 to €85 million. There was worse news for investors: the promised €0.72 dividend for 2017 has been radically cut to just €0.11 per share.

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