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India's Cipla misses Q3 profit estimates on muted domestic sales

An employee works at the reception area of Cipla at its headquarters in Mumbai

BENGALURU (Reuters) - Indian drugmaker Cipla Ltd reported a smaller-than-expected rise in third-quarter profit on Wednesday, as muted sales in the domestic market offset strong demand in the North America.

The Mumbai-based company's consolidated net profit for the three months ended Dec. 31, rose 9.9% to 8.01 billion rupees ($98.22 million) from 7.29 billion rupees a year ago.

Analysts, on an average, had expected a profit of 9.20 billion rupees, according to Refinitiv IBES data.

Cipla said sales from its India business, its biggest market, were at 25.63 billion rupees, an increase of 1.8% from a year ago and flat from the previous quarter. The domestic market contributed about 44% to the total revenue.

However, sales in the North America, its second-biggest market, jumped 42.3% from a year ago to 16 billion rupees, on the back of strong demand for its respiratory drugs during the flu season.

Cipla likely benefited from high seasonal demand for flu medicines, with incidences of infection in the December quarter much higher than in the past seven to eight years, analysts at Nomura said in a note earlier this month.

The company's input costs fell nearly 15% to 12.99 billion rupees, while consolidated revenue from the sale of products climbed 5.3%.

Cipla shares fell as much as 4% to 1,020 rupees after the results. They climbed nearly 14% in 2022, their third straight yearly rise, while the Nifty pharma index shed 11.4%.

($1 = 81.5500 Indian rupees)

(Reporting by Rama Venkat and Hritam Mukherjee in Bengaluru; Editing by Eileen Soreng)