Positive on select pharma stocks as valuations look reasonable: Edelweiss Securities

Pharma sector has been one of the major laggards this year. However, many brokerages are turning bullish on the sector.

Expensive medicines, University Medical Center Hamburg, germany, generic cream, side feffects of expensive medicines
Researchers at University Medical Center Hamburg- Eppendorf in Germany studied if price might also affect the strength of the nocebo effect. (Reuters)
Expensive medicines, University Medical Center Hamburg, germany, generic cream, side feffects of expensive medicines
Many brokerages are turning bullish on the pharma sector. (Image: Reuters)

Pharma sector has been one of the major laggards this year. However, many brokerages are turning bullish on the sector. In an interview to CNBC TV18, Vikas Khemani of Edelweiss Securities said, “On a selective basis, we are positive on pharma, where valuations are in favour, and the filing pipeline looks good.” The BSE Healthcare Index has shed more than 3.5% since January.

In an interview to ET Now last week, S Naren of ICICI Prudential Mutual Fund said, “We are going to see that in the next three years, rupee is likely to go back to the old depreciation situation. The two principal exports of India are IT and pharma. Actually they have got hurt in the last four years due to a flat rupee. We think they will gain out of a flat rupee depreciation from here over the next 2-3 years.”

Similarly, Saurabh Mukherjea of Ambit Capital told ET Now, “What we’re telling clients is look at the sectors where nobody wants to invest. Look at IT and pharma, there are very high quality franchises, which are trading at 14, 15-16 times earnings, with solid cash generation, high 20’s Return on Equity, both in the large-cap IT stocks, and mid-cap pharma stocks. There’s plenty of value there, but investors currently don’t want to look there.”

Investment maestro Rakesh Jhunjhunwala too is bullish on the pharma sector. At a time when many other top experts had advised investors to stay away from the sector, the investing icon has actually increased stake in the space. In Lupin Ltd, he has increased stake to 1.89% as on 30th September 2017, as against 1.76% in the previous quarter, even though the drugmaker had actually posted a 60% slump in profits for the first quarter.

In August this year, Rakesh Jhunjhunwala’s wife picked up 0.9% stake in Fortis Healthcare for an estimated Rs 60 crores, through an open market transaction. “Everything that could go wrong for the pharma sector, has gone wrong. The US market got very competitive. Rupee depreciated, and the pharma companies had very bad sales domestically due to GST. I would say the worst in behind us. The rebound will depend a lot on the individual companies,” Rakesh Jhunjhunwala told CNBC TV18 last week.

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