Chin confident about Lasco Distributors’ growth in 2017

CHAIRMAN of Lasco Affiliated Companies Lascelles Chin says that next week’s Supreme Court judgement on damages owed by global pharmaceutical giant Pfizer, will benefit several of the companies in the group.

“The award should not only help Lasco Distributors Limited, but also Lasco Manufacturing and Lasco Financial Services,” Chin told Wednesday’s Mayberry Investments Limited monthly Investors Forum at the Knutsford Court Hotel in New Kingston.

He said that Thursday, November 3, the date set for Supreme Court judge Vivienne Harrison to hand down her judgement, is very important for his company.

“You can also calculate the interest, you know,” Chin quipped, to the amusement of the room full of investors and other guests who showed up for updates on the performance of the Lasco companies over the last four years.

Chin’s comprehensive update was followed by more in-depth information from head of each company — Peter Chin (Lasco Distributors); James Rawle (Lasco Manufacturers); and Jacinth Hall-Tracey (Lasco Financial).

He was extremely confident about the growth of Lasco Distributors over the next couple of years, despite the enormous setback created by the injunction which was granted to Pfizer, between 2005 and 2012, preventing the sale of Lasco’s popular hypertension generic, Amlodipine, as well as a generic sold by Medimpex Jamaica as Normodyne.

He noted that Lasco Distributors has been growing at a very fast pace, despite last year’s dip in profits.

However, he admitted that there was a decline in 2016/17, which he attributed to an investment of US$6 million to increase the division’s warehouse capacity.

“We have been growing so fast, but after this we should have enough space. We have also increased our efficiency and the quality of our staff,” he stated.

In terms of the pharmaceutical division of Lasco Distributors, he noted that a senior management team had recently returned home from India, where they made arrangements for Lasco to represent six “new, top generic companies”.

“This will further enhance our product portfolio, and will mean greater sales and profits for the division,” he said.

He said that in terms of the consumer division, not only would new products from Lasco Manufacturing be introduced shortly, but also new and competitive products from around the world.

Last year, the company grew revenues by 8.6 per cent to $15.8 billion over 2016/17. However, net profit was $609 million last year, a 14.9 per cent reduction compared to 2015/16.

He said that the net profit performance was impacted by logistic issues, one-off expenses due to legal and construction costs, and marketing investments which he attributed to its rapid growth.

He said that the company would focus on key objectives and build its foundation on what has already been established.

Supreme Court Judge Justice Viviene Harris is expected to deliver judgement on the damages Pfizer should pay to both Lasco Distributors and Medimpex Jamaica for loss of sales during the seven-year injunction on November 3.

Lasco is seeking from the court a total of US$490.1 million, including US$179.1 million in interest. The Government would also benefit from taxes of approximately US$60 million if the total sum of US$490 million is granted. Medimpex, a Caribbean company which originated in Hungary but which has since emerged as a major regional distributor of pharmaceuticals from Europe, has been seeking US$11.5 million from the judgement.


Senior Staff Reporter