Sigma first-half profit falls

Pharmaceuticals group warns of challenging environment, hopes for govt certainty.

Sigma Pharmaceuticals Ltd says it continues to operate in a challenging environment after posting a fall in first-half profit, but expects a stronger second half and will look to the new federal government to provide greater certainty in the sector including limiting further changes to the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.

The group's net profit after tax attributable to members fell 37.6% to $16.3 million in the six months ended July 31, 2013, compared with $26.1 million in the previous corresponding period.

Sales revenue rose 3.1% to $1.46 billion in the half, compared with $1.42 billion in the first half of 2012.

The group paid an interim dividend of two cents per share, fully franked.

Sigma chief executive officer Mark Hooper said the group "has delivered a solid performance in a difficult trading environment with PBS growth virtually non-existent and retail conditions subdued".

He said Sigma's initiatives to grow sales include the Amcal and Guardian e-commerce platforms launched in mid-2013, and increasing the products in its private range.

The group said the sales revenue increase was achieved in a period when further PBS price reforms have been implemented by the government

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