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[Analysis] COVID-19 sharply erodes market value of biopharmaceuticals
  • By Lee Han-soo
  • Published 2020.03.17 15:53
  • Updated 2020.03.18 12:56
  • comments 0

With COVID-19 having a huge negative impact on Korea's economy, the nation’s main stock market is also showing a historically steep rate of decline.

Biopharmaceutical stocks could not be exceptions from the overall crash.

Compared to last Friday, 50 pharmaceutical companies listed on the KOSPI market saw about 3.2 trillion won ($2.5 billion) of its total market value evaporate from last Friday to Tuesday, reeling from the outbreak of COVID-19.

According to the Korea Exchange, the KOSPI market dipped down 43.13 points, or 2.52 percent, to 1,671 points as of 2:30 p.m. Tuesday, hitting its lowest point since October 2011.

Almost all of the top-10 biopharmaceutical firms lost substantial amounts of market value over the past few days. Celltrion lost most with 577.1 billion won, followed by Daewoong (137.8 billion won), Hanmi Pharmaceutical (41 billion won), Chong Kun Dang Holdings (29 billion won), Dong-A ST lost (2.3 billion won), Yuhan Corp. (20 billion won), Jeil Pharmaceutical (13. 2 billion won), JW Pharmaceutical (4.1 billion won), and Ildong Pharmaceutical (3.4 billion won).

Although not listed on the top-10 list, Samsung Biologics suffered an incomparably massive loss of value, with 2.4 trillion won.

GC was the only company among the top-10 local pharmaceutical firms that managed to increase its total market value. From last Friday to Tuesday, the company expanded its market share by 192.8 billion won.

According to Hana Financial Investment, such a feat was possible due to the growth of the company's export vaccines, such as flu and chickenpox vaccine. Among the GC products, vaccines have brought in the largest margin for the company.

In the case of intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG), if its sales are not balanced with hose of albumin, the purchasing expenses of blood sharply rises, which pushes up production cost. However, influenza and chickenpox vaccine for both domestic and overseas sales have a cost ratio of around 50 percent and have a good margin.

"GC’s margins can improve as its vaccine production increase," said Sun Min-jeong, an analyst at Hana Financial Investment, in a Tuesday report. "This year, the company is expected to control the cost of blood products by adjusting the export volume of IVIG. And, as the production vaccine is estimated to grow 38 percent compared to last year, the company will be able to increase its operating profit by 68 percent to 68 billion won."


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