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01.05.2007 Business & Finance

Ayrton Drugs Records ¢79.5bn Turnover • Declares ¢3.1 Billion Dividend

Ayrton Drug Manufacturing Limited, the only listed pharmaceutical company, has put in place measures to increase turnover by, between 20 and 30 per cent in 18 months.

They include the building of a modern warehouse complex on the Spintex Road to enable the company to stock raw materials to quickly meet demand, a new factory for the manufacture of syrups, provision of additional generators to forestall the energy crisis and the marketing of products with higher margins.

The Chairman and Managing Director of Ayrton Drugs, Mr Samuel Adjepong, disclosed this in an interview at the factory premises at Tesano, Accra just before the company's maiden annual general meeting.

The company floated shares in an initial public offer last May to raise funds to expand and modernise its operations and increase its stake in the exports market. The company's plants are operating at full capacity but are still unable to meet local demand.

Mr Adjepong said the new factory at Tesano which was nearing completion, would have a plant for manufacturing antibiotics and another designated to syrup manufacturing so that its other plant could concentrate on manufacturing tablets and thereby increase turnover.

He said the new plant measured up to international standards, saying it would be fully automated with epoxy floors and with the most hygienic aeration systems that recycled air within the building without accepting any from outside.

The chairman of Ayrton said the company would also introduce 10 new over-the-counter (OTC) drugs. It currently manufactures 65 products including the popular blood tonic virol, the Samalin range of products, Teedar, Panacin, Ferrodex and ResQ.

The company recorded a ¢79.5 billion turnover, nine per cent over the 2005 figure of ¢73.29 billion, but increased its profit after tax by 36.2 per cent from ¢7.589 billion in 2005 to ¢10.34 billion in 2006

“Sales growth for 2006 was constrained by the fact that our existing factory had been operating at full capcity since 2005. Management strategy of adjusting the product mix during 2006, by increasing the volumes of products with higher profit margins coupled with prudent cost management, enabled Ayrton Drug to achieve such an increase in profitability,” Mr Adjepong explained in the company's annual report.

That notwithstanding, the company, which is barely a year old since it floated shares, paid approximately 30 per cent of its profit as dividend, amounting to about ¢3.1 billion, thus an earnings per share of ¢53.12.

Mr Adjepong announced that the company would establish a research and development unit to scientifically research into traditional plants and herbs and develop quality but affordable medicines for the treatment of conditions such as diabetes, hypertention and ulcers.

He added “there will be an aggressive export drive when our output from the new and existing plants enables us to meet local demand.”

The company is hoping for growth to continue in 2007, especially with the inauguration of its new factory in August.

Story by Samuel Doe Ablordeppey