Morgan Stanley Asia Limited+
Bin.Li@morganstanley.com +852 2239 7596
Sean.Wu@morganstanley.com +852 2848 5649
Christopher Lui February 6, 2009 Industry View In-Line
C.Lui@morganstanley.com +852 2239 1883
Time to Look at the Neglected China Drug Sector
Investible industry leaders emerging… We are initiating coverage of the China pharmaceuticals industry with an In-Line view, as we now see ample investment opportunities in the China drug sector. A major hindrance to investing in the sector had been the lack of quality companies with large enough market cap, due to the fragmented nature of the industry. This is changing fast with the emergence of such marquee companies as Hengrui, a top oncology player, and Simcere, a top integrated drug marketing powerhouse. There are ~15 A-share drug companies with market cap above US$1bn, and a number of quality overseas-listed drug companies such as the United Laboratories (TUL). …as industry growth surges. Pharmaceuticals, the largest subsector within China Healthcare, should continue to be bolstered by a large aging population, rising disposable income, and increasing government spending. Why In-Line view: While the overall industry growth has been impressive, the long-anticipated industry consolidation has yet to materialize. Most industry players are still low-tech manufacturers making very thin profit margins due to large sales & marketing outlays and aggressive price competition. We thus think the time is right to pick winners: We expect the upcoming healthcare reform to increase demand for drugs and bring many new opportunities to reputable generic drug makers. We believe companies with the following attributes will benefit from the new dynamics: 1) proprietary products and/or first-to-market generic drugs to ensure market exclusivity, 2) strong rural sales networks and a focus on specific disease areas (e.g., oncology),...