Hong Kong-listed Sinopharm reports jump in 2020 profit, says ready to deliver Covid-19 jabs as China targets 500 million shots by June

Daniel Ren
·3-min read

Sinopharm Holding was ready to deliver the Covid-19 vaccines needed to meet Beijing’s target of more than 500 million vaccinations by June this year, its president said.

The Hong Kong-listed unit of state-owned China National Pharmaceutical Group (Sinopharm), the country’s largest distributor and retailer of pharmaceutical products, also revealed a 13.9 per cent jump in profit for 2020 during a teleconference.

“As the country’s top company in operating cold-chain logistics for pharmaceutical products, we have been making preparations to distribute the [Covid-19] vaccines for a while,” Liu Yong said. He said the company was “unable to tell exactly how much our performance can improve by handling the [logistics involved], but it is certain to give us a huge boost”.

Do you have questions about the biggest topics and trends from around the world? Get the answers with SCMP Knowledge, our new platform of curated content with explainers, FAQs, analyses and infographics brought to you by our award-winning team.

Beijing is targeting vaccinating 40 per cent of its population – or more than 500 million people – by June. But since it had vaccinated just 65 million people as of mid-March, it will need to give four million shots a day to meet its goal.

Sinopharm conducted a Covid-19 vaccine delivery dry run in December last year to ensure its cold-chain logistics system was safe and efficient. The drill covered all its systems in 31 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities.

In China’s Covid-19 vaccine race, five stocks are on analysts’ watch list as clinical trials end, production anticipated

The company was looking to consolidate its leading position through the distribution of medicines and vaccines, as the pandemic had increased people’s awareness about health, said Yu Qingming, Sinopharm’s chairman. He added that the company would use more digital technology to enhance its delivery efficiency.

Sinopharm’s profit growth last year was bolstered by its fast-expanding medical devices segment, which raked in 89.4 billion yuan (US$13.7 billion) in sales, an increase of 29 per cent over the previous year. The company’s profit stood at 12.1 billion yuan on revenue of 456.4 billion yuan, which rose 7.3 per cent year on year. Its shares were unchanged in Hong Kong from a day earlier, and were trading at HK$18.88 (US$2.43) on Tuesday morning.

In the Category 1 segment, under which vaccines are bought by the government, Sinopharm’s share of the logistics business stands at 20 per cent. In Category 2, or private-sector vaccines, it has a 60 per cent share of the logistics market, Liu said.

Kerry Logistics gears up to deliver Covid-19 vaccines to Hong Kong, as sector gets ready for challenge of delivering 10 billion doses globally

In September, Sinopharm teamed up with Shanghai Fosun Pharmaceutical to set up a temperature-controlled medicines supply chain to store and distribute the mRNA Covid-19 vaccine co-developed by Germany’s BioNTech and US giant Pfizer. Beijing, however, has yet to approve the vaccine, which must be kept at minus 70 degrees Celsius over the long term and thawed and diluted before injection.

China has approved four Covid-19 vaccines so far. These include two developed by China National Pharmaceutical Group, Sinopharm’s parent firm, one by Sinovac and the other by Cansino.

More from South China Morning Post:

This article Hong Kong-listed Sinopharm reports jump in 2020 profit, says ready to deliver Covid-19 jabs as China targets 500 million shots by June first appeared on South China Morning Post

For the latest news from the South China Morning Post download our mobile app. Copyright 2021.