IMA recovery points to stronger pharma perfomance

By Gregory Roumeliotis

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Generally accepted accounting principles

Following disappointing financial results in 2005, Italian
packaging group IMA has swung into profit in the first quarter of
2006 from a loss in the first quarter of 2005, buoyed by an upswing
in orders from the pharmaceutical industry.

IMA posted a pre-tax profit of €2.4m, a significant improvement from a pre tax loss of €5.9m in Q1 of 2005, as profit margins recovered to 4.5 per cent.

Responding to the increased regulatory focus on manufacturing practices that has made many drug manufacturers apprehensive, many machinery makers have dropped their prices to maintain their market share, so the Italian company was pleased to see orders pick up in the start of the year.

IMA's net debt jumped 6.8 per cent to €110.6m however, as the firm was hit by outlays of €12.9m for the acquisitions of VIMA Impianti and IMA-Telstar.

IMA concluded a joint venture agreement with the Telstar Group's freeze drying machinery business in August 2005 and in March 2006 it completed the acquisition of Vima Impianti, a company that manufactures machines for dosing pharmaceutical products, for feeding plants manufacturing products in capsules and tablets, as well as dedusting systems for the pharmaceutical industry.

"After the recent acquisition of VIMA Impianti, the Group is ready to expand even more, both internally and externally, to further strengthen its leadership position in the pharmaceutical segments in which it operates,"​ Alberto Vacchi, IMA's managing director, said.

"For 2006 we are looking for an increase in both revenues and profits, in line with what we previously announced when the 2005 financial statements were approved and this also in consideration of the market conditions, which are a good deal better than in the recent past, while we are now beginning to see the benefits of the measures taken in the past to reduce cost of sales and streamline the corporate structure."

Capsule filling is the biggest market for IMA, where it holds a 33 per share, but it also has a strong presence in blister packaging (28 per cent), sterile filling (20 per cent) and coating (17 per cent).

The company is sticking to the 2006 forecast it issued in April, expecting an operating profit of around €44m, up €8.4m from 2005, as new opportunities arise in the biotech sector and a strong growth in generics continues.

Although the operating profit for Q1 of 2006 was only €3.3m, IMA claims the normal timing of deliveries in this sector traditionally sees a modest portion of revenues concentrated in the period January-March.

As the company sees increasing barriers to market entry, it hopes it can reposition itself in the industry to remain a leading presence - 90.3 per cent of its sales in 2005 were exports.

Related topics Drug Delivery Processing equipment

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