Formerly called Trinity Labs, Torrent pharmaceuticals is one of India’s leading pharmaceutical companies with an annual turnover of about 930 crores worldwide. It is now a fast-growing company after shaking off the sluggishness of past few years. It has recently established a new manufacturing facility in Baddi, Himachal Pradesh both as a means of expanding production and to take advantage of its low-cost production environment by shifting existing production capacity. Torrent Pharmaceuticals Ltd. is one of the most renowned companies in the Indian pharmaceutical market. It is considered to be one of the foremost companies in the pharmaceutical company. The Company’s major sources of revenue are mainly from manufacturing services and sale of branded-generic drugs in India and unbranded-generics pharmaceutical products abroad. A further classification of these pharmaceutical sales can also be done as, Domestic formulations which basically comprises of branded pharmaceutical formulations sold in the domestic or the local market, Contract manufacturing which is generally comprised of sourcing, producing and supplying insulin formulations to Novo Nordisk (India) Ltd.
Under their brand name and International operations which encompasses sales outside the country of branded as well as unbranded-generic pharmaceutical formulations to foreign subsidiary companies and third parties. Torrent Pharma has also made significant inroads into the international generic drugs market. Over the last few years, the Company has built up a strategy and infrastructure along with the capabilities focused on tapping this productive opportunity. The production facilities are improved to meet stringent and strict quality assurance standards of the highly regulated and developed countries (like fulfilling or satisfying the USFDA norms); and along with it maintaining the competitive cost advantage. Torrent Research Center (TRC), the research & development facility, is upgraded to develop international generic versions of selected molecules in the required time frame and prepare the necessary regulatory dossiers for obtaining timely marketing approval in regulated markets. Company has sought to establish a strong R&D outlook in this field by investing over 12% of its net sales in R&D. As per the mentioned or discussed strategy, their current international operations are focused on five key or major areas: Brazil & Latin America, Russia & CIS countries, Europe, North America and Rest of the World comprising less regulated countries of Africa and Asia.
During the year, equity shares of the Company of face value Rs.10 each were sub-divided into two new equity shares of Rs.5 each and bonus shares were issued on post-split basis in the ratio of one bonus share for every existing share held. Dividend recommendation of Rs.2.50 per equity share on the expanded capital post issuance of bonus shares (50 % on fully paid up face value of Rs.5) (previous year Rs.8 per equity share, 80% on fully paid up face value of Rs.10), amounting to Rs.21.15 crores (previous year Rs. 16.92 crores). The stock-split allowed the Company to unlock the value for shareholders.
During the year, the Company split the face value of its equity shares from Rs. 10 to Rs. 5 and also issued bonus equity shares in the ratio of 1 bonus share for every share on a post-split basis by way of capitalization from Capital Redemption Reserve.The paid up share capital of the Company increased from Rs.21.15 crores to Rs. 42.31 crores as at 31-Mar-06 on account of the same. It allowed company to retain cash to fund the capital expenditure program mainly comprising of formulation manufacturing facility at Baddi, API upgradation and expansion project at Indrad, (both completed during the year), expansion of research & development (under execution) and other maintenance capital expenditure were funded mainly from the term loans and internal accruals.
A pharma company has to continuously search for new products to survive in a market that makes old products obsolete very fast. Torrent launched a number of products that protected its market-share by replacing the obsolete products.
Torrent Research Center (TRC), the research & development facility, has seen increasing investments mainly to develop generic formulations of drugs going off-patent. Since Torrent doesn’t have the scales to fund original molecule research, this is a prudent approach. In a market where a number of blockbuster drugs will go off-patent in near future, it is possible to create value with this strategy. However, decline in capital funding for research as a percentage of sales is a matter of concern.
Torrent acquired the German firm Heumann Pharma that has boosted its balance-sheet for overseas operations. It has allowed them to gain foothold in German market.
The overall efficiency of Torrent India has decreased from 1.27 to 1.14 in 2005-06. This could be attributed to the significant decrease in Working Capital efficiency from 5.20 in 2005 to 3.11 in 2006. This decrease in working capital efficiency is due to an increase in cash and bank balance by 634.3% and sundry debtors by 85.78%, which is indicative of slackening in collection from market.
Efficiency of inventory has increased substantially in the year. However company seems to have lost some of its bargaining power with both its suppliers and customers as evident in decreased credit facility available from suppliers and increased credit facility being given to its customers. The change to VAT regime may have led to thinning of pipeline in the first quarter leading to loss of market power but there is no reason for this phenomenon to make impact for the entire year.
The net short-term debt taken by the company in 2004-2005 was Rs. 2966.81 lakhs, which was completely repaid in 2005-2006. In 2005-2006, however, they have taken a lot of long-term loans. The company took a net long-term debt of Rs. 6283.50 lakhs, which put its total net long-term debt on 31 March 2006 at 24408.50 lakhs. During this period, Torrent Limited has purchased fixed assets that have a long gestations period worth Rs. 11440.64 lakhs. Last annum they had purchased fixed assets worth Rs. 9563.21 lakhs. Their long-term investment in subsidiaries was Rs. 3555.13 in 2005-2006, compared to Rs. 530.10 lakhs last year. This can be explained by their huge investment in their German subsidiary, Torrent Pharma GmBh, for acquisition of Huemann Pharma GmBh, and to meet the working capital requirement of Huemann, post acquisition. The cash and cash equivalents of Torrent have decreased substantially, by Rs. 9429.39 lakhs, compared to a corresponding increase of Rs. 12429.59 lakhs last year. It seems that the entire capacity expansion has been funded by internal accruals and the long term debt has been utilized to retire short-term debt as well as to pay for the acquisition in Germany. Yet, Torrent enjoys a comfortable cash position.
The interest coverage ratio has declined sharply to 4.97 from the corresponding figure of 9.76 last year. However, the firm is stable to meet its interest payment needs and this change is due to the increase in long-term loans. The company is in comfortable position in terms of Debt Equity ratio and Debt service coverage ratio. Torrent remains an eminently lend-able company.
They wanted to go for capacity expansion. So they sold all their relatively risky investments aggregating 14695.34 lakhs and put them into relatively safer instruments like fixed deposits. This led to an increase in the cash and bank balance by 634.3% and complete knocking-off of outside investments other than those in subsidiaries.
Operating profit margin before tax has decreased from 13.47 in 2005, to 11.13 in 2006. Similarly, the net profit margin has also decreased from 8.90 in 2005 to 5.25 in 2006. Though net profit margin for Torrent (India) also declined during this period, the operating profit margin has increased from 15.55 to 17.11. The decrease in operating profit margin of Torrent (consolidated) indicates that subsidiaries are making losses.
The debt service coverage ratio has significantly decreased from 4.13 to 1.93 during the period 2005-06. For Torrent (India), these figures were 5.3 and 3.15 respectively. This decrease in debt service coverage ratio of Torrent (consolidated) can be attributed to the fact that during 2005-06 the cash flow from operating activities for Torrent (consolidated) increased by 36.38%, whereas its interest paid increased by 190.8%.The high interest paid also has an effect on interest coverage ratio which declined from 8.99 to 2.37. Though the figures are still in the acceptable region, a further decline in cash flow from operating activities and an increase in interest paid will have an adverse effect on the long term solvency position of torrent consolidated.
Since consolidated figures show decline in reserves lying with the Company as compared to figures for India operations, book value declines marginally. The majority shareholding in Torrent is by its promoters, thus there is no significant threat of a takeover.
One significant difference that can be seen between Torrent India and Torrent Consolidated is that overall efficiency ratio decreased fro Torrent India in 2005-06 whereas it increased for Torrent Consolidated. A possible reason is that sales for torrent consolidated increased by 76.5% whereas its capital employed increased by 63.3%. On the other hand increase in sales for Torrent India was 39.1% and increase in Capital employed was 55.5%. The huge increase in capital employed of torrent India was because of the loans given by torrent India to its foreign subsidiaries.
International operations of Torrent still have a pull down effect on the consolidated performance of the company because they have not yet started generating returns. Most of the subsidiaries are still in the investing phase and have a very low turnover denying efficiency scales to the company currently. However their continued improvement indicates that company should be able to build scales in its international operations too in the near future.
Bonus Issue: The bonus issue decision taken by the board of directors was well accepted by the shareholders. The share price jumped from a mere 168 to 192 in a single day. The bonus issue was finally approved on Jan 25th by the company shareholders. Performance vis-à-vis Market Torrent share price has largely mirrored the movement of BSE index, but has shown a sharp jump between November and February on account positive market response to share split. However, in the period after Mar 2006 Torrent’s performance has declined vis-à-vis the stock exchange. While the BSE index has given returns of close to 50%, the stock has gone up by round about 39%. The beta value of the stock lies close to 0.7657. It indicates a declining enthusiasm for the scrip in the stock market. Shareholding Pattern The company is a very closely held company with close to 74.9% under the promoters. Foreign institutional investors have also shown significant interest in the stock with holdings of nearly 11%. Other financial institutions carry another significant chunk of the shares. This means that very little is in the hands of the retail investors. In comparison, the industry leader, Dr Reddys has only 24% under promoter holding. The FII is slightly higher at 15%.
Ratios of other companies are sourced from, Torrent seems to be servicing its debt pretty efficiently when seen in light of industry aggregate. The debt-equity and long-term debt-equity ratios for torrent are below the industry average. Torrent, Cadila and Alembic have around 60% debt with respect to their equity whereas Glenmark is above 100%. When seen this in the light of debt servicing (interest coverage ratio) capacity of the firm Torrent and other companies are doing a good job. They are above the industry aggregate of 4. The interest component for Torrent, Cadila, Alembic and Glenmark are approximately 25%, 14.4%, 13.6% and 19.2% respectively of their PAT. The short-term solvency of the Torrent and others is also above the industry average. Torrent is using its fixed assets more efficiently than Alembic and Cadila Health. Torrent, in most of the aspects, matches and at times is well above the industry aggregates of the key performance indicators. Torrent has one of the good sales credits to cash conversion among the others in the industry. One key area where Torrent needs to improve upon is Inventory Turnover. When it comes to efficiency in Inventory Torrent is not doing a good job with respect to Industry aggregates. Torrent has been managing its inventory very inefficiently (larger holding periods) – even though it has improved on this count in the current year – and hence in this aspect it is rated as one among the low in the industry.
Operating margin Asset Turnover Leverage Ratio Equity Ratio 14.7/13.99 1.14/1.27 1.54/1.315 0.63/0.87 There has been an upward swing in the RONW of torrent over the past year assisted mainly due to the improvement in the operating margin and the equity ratio. The operating margin has moved upwards mainly due to the sales push. Even though the costs have increased sales has cushioned the blow. The revival in sales is mainly due to the general growth in the pharma industry after the recovery from the slack caused by the implementation of VAT. Increase in the brand portfolio as well as an increase in the field force also assisted in the growth. The change in the equity ratio has been mainly due to strong performance that has increased shareholder wealth in the Company and pushed debt ratio down even when substantial amounts have been raised as debt from financial institutions. The fixed assets have grown because of the addition of the 2 new plants that have been commissioned which are still to make full impact on sales thus pulling down the overall asset efficiency. The cash in bank balance has seen a major increase due to the conservative investment strategy of torrent. However this hardly is a cause of concern because non-operating are not a major source of income in any case and withdrawing finds from the market have enabled funding for capacity expansion.
Torrent Pharmaceuticals is a company with conservative growth outlook because its scales donot allow it to play high-risk high-reward game of original research. In a market dominated by innovative companies, this can be a handicap. However, Indian companies barring the top 2-3 have hardly got the necessary resources for such business model. The old story of growth through branded and unbranded generics that catapulted some Indian companies into big league is likely to continue for a few more years. So, betting on this strategy is not such a bad idea. In recent times, pharmaceutical sector has faced uncertain regulatory environment and increasing pressures on margins. The recent move by the government towards a more comprehensive price control regime is likely to tighten the margins further. Under these circumstances, a brave investor would bet on a conservative strategy that Torrent follows. Torrent will have to find ways of tapping into the research pipeline to make its business model reflect current churning in the market. Since its balance sheet is not big enough to allow such strategy, one way out could be to open new revenue streams by hitching itself to research pipeline like contract research for a part of research supply chain. Torrent’s international strategy is also focused on generics which may have a better future given the thin penetration of healthcare in under-developed markets where India’s low-cost producers have a natural advantage. However, India has already moved to a regime that will lead to continuous thinning of generic pipeline. Its full impact is still a few years away so Torrent still has time to re-orient its business model to reflect market realities.
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