CSL, Sun Pharma rank as absolutely fab in Asia

Asia has been high on every major drugmaker's to-do list over the past several years. Pharma markets there are among the fastest-growing in the world, and Big Pharma wants a piece of that growth. But Asia has a few homegrown drug companies with turf to defend, as this year's "Fab 50" from Forbes shows.

After analyzing financial metrics such as sales, profits and market value, the magazine identified 50 top-performing companies in the region--and two of them were drugmakers, with a third threatening to break in next year. No pharma companies made the list last year.

Australia's CSL and India's Sun Pharmaceutical Industries were the chosen two for 2012. CSL sells vaccines--including the influenza shot Fluvax and HPV vaccine Gardasil--and plasma-derived protein therapies. With $4.8 billion in sales last year, CSL has a market cap of $21.6 billion--and a not-too-shabby annual growth rate of 7.7% over the past 5 years. That's despite some high-profile problems with its flu vaccine.

Sun Pharmaceuticals, which recently made FiercePharma's list of fastest-growing generics makers, impressed Forbes with its 30.9% average annual sales growth over the past 5 years. Operating income and earnings per share have also grown fast, at 38.1% and 18% respectively. Its total sales for the most recent fiscal year: $1.6 billion.

Meanwhile, China's Shanghai Fosun Pharmaceutical is coming on strong for next year, Forbes says. Controlled by Chinese billionaire Guo Guangchang, the company has been snapping up stakes in other drugmakers and setting up joint ventures with the likes of Lonza. Already traded in Shanghai, the company is planning an IPO in Hong Kong as well.

- read the Forbes story

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