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Krka Group Ups Profit by 2% in First Quarter (adds)

Novo mesto, 12 May (STA) - The group around the Novo mesto-based pharmaceuticals maker Krka posted a EUR 48m net profit in the first quarter of 2011, up 2% from the same period last year. Krka alone generated a EUR 47m net profit, down 5% year-on-year.

The group generated EUR 258m in sales revenues in the first quarter, which is 5% more than in the first quarter of 2010, according to unaudited results the company presented on Thursday.

Sales revenues at the core company meanwhile amounted to EUR 236.1m, up 2% year-on-year.

Krka chairman Joze Colaric told the press that 93% of the sales were carried out on foreign markets, with the biggest share falling to Central Europe, where sales were up 2% year-on-year to EUR 77m.

Eastern Europe followed with 26%, recording 15% growth to EUR 67m. Russia was the biggest individual market in the east, accounting for EUR 47m in sales, a 6% increase year-on-year.

Western European markets accounted for EUR 53m or 21%, remaining level with the same period last year, while SE Europe grew by 6% to EUR 37m to represent 14% in total sales. In Slovenia, sales were down 2% to EUR 24m, which is just over 9% of total sales.

Colaric also touched on investments at group level. Krka spent EUR 23m in the first three months, EUR 20m of which as part of the controlling company.

The chairman moreover pointed to July's general assembly meeting, where shareholders will also decide on a proposal to allow the management to buy the company's shares in the coming 36 months with the expanded option to list the shares on stock markets abroad. Krka bought 5% of its own shares last year out of a possible 10%.

Colaric said that no decisions have been made yet on where listings could be carried out. Reflecting on the the Warsaw Stock Exchange, which was recently chosen by the NKBM bank, Colaric pointed out that Poland was Krka's second biggest market and that Krka would be by far the stronger pharma share on the stock exchange.

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