Celltrion group tipped to exceed 1 trillion won in profit; first among bio firms

  • 2020-09-15

South Korea’s Celltrion Inc. and its affiliates are expected to post robust operating profits this year on the back of strong sales of Remsima and other blockbuster biosimilar products.

The combined operating profit of the biopharmaceutical company and its marketing arm, Celltrion Healthcare Co., is forecast to rise above 1 trillion won ($848 million) for the full year, becoming the first Korean bio enterprise to pass this key earnings milestone.

According to market tracker FnGuide on Sept. 15, Celltrion’s 2020 operating profit is estimated by 13 brokerages to reach an all-time high of 689.9 billion won on average, up 82.4% from the previous year, while Celltrion Healthcare’s operating profit is expected to rise 322% to a record 351.4 billion won. Combined, the two companies are forecast to post 1.04 trillion won in operating profit, according to FnGuide.

Among major Korean business conglomerates, only six – Samsung, SK, Hyundai Motor, Lotte, LG and GS – posted a full-year operating profit of more than 1 trillion won in 2019.

celltrion-remsima

The rosy earnings outlook comes as no surprise as biopharmaceutical analysts have raised their earnings forecasts for Celltrion since the company posted better-than-expected second-quarter results.

Celltrion said in August its net profit jumped 77% on year to 138.6 billion won on a consolidated basis in the April-June period owing to strong sales of its blockbuster biosimilar, Truxima. Operating profit more than doubled to a quarterly high of 181.8 billion won.

TRUXIMA, REMSIMA CASH COWS FOR CELLTRION

Truxima is used in the treatment of a number of adult diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a type of cancer. The drug, which is currently sold in the US and Europe, is expected to reach the Middle Eastern market soon.

Celltrion has also developed the world’s first subcutaneous (SC)-injection type of Remsima, a biosimilar version of Janssen’s Remicade, a treatment for autoimmune diseases. Janssen and other global biosimilar makers have not yet developed the SC-injection type.

In Europe, Celltrion’s Remsima, including the SC-injection type, accounted for 57% of the autoimmune disease treatment drug market in the first quarter, beating Janssen’s Remicade, which stood at 28%.

Local brokerage Kiwoom Securities forecast the global sale of SC-injection type Remsima would more than double to 375 billion won in 2021 from an expected 150 billion won this year.

“As a first mover in the biosimilar market, we expect to enjoy the market leader’s position by launching a series of cost-competitive products one after another,” said a Celltrion official.

By Woo-sub Kim

duter@hankyung.com

<Edited by In-Soo Nam>