China Biologic Products Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ:CBPO) Q1 2020 Earnings Conference Call May 21, 2020 7:30 AM ET
Samuel Martin – Senior Account Executive, The Foote Group
Joseph Chow – Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
Ming Yin – Senior Vice President
Conference Call Participants
Jason Liu – Credit Suisse
Stephanie Hanna – Dealreporter
Welcome to the China Biological [sic] [Biologic] Products Holdings First Quarter 2020 Earnings Conference Call. For the first quarter of this call, all participants will be in a listen-only mode. And afterwards, there will be a question-and-answer session. Today’s conference is being recorded.
At this time, I would like to turn the call over to Sam Martin from The Foote Group, for opening remarks and introductions. Please go ahead.
Thank you, operator. Hello, everyone, and thank you for joining us on today’s call. China Biologic announced its first quarter 2020 financial results on May 20, 2020, after the market closed. An earnings release is available on the company’s website.
Today, you’ll hear from China Biologic’s Chairman and CEO, Mr. Joseph Chow, who will start off the call with a review of the company’s basic operating results and report recent developments for the company. He will be followed by Mr. Ming Yin, Senior Vice President of China Biologic, who will give a detailed account of the company’s financial results. China Biologic’s CFO, Mr. Ming Yang, will be available during the Q&A session following the prepared remarks.
Before we proceed, I would like to remind you of Safe Harbor statement. Our conference call may include forward-looking statements made under the Safe Harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Although we believe that the expectations reflected in our forward-looking statements are reasonable as of today, those statements are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause the actual results to differ dramatically from those projected. There can be no assurance that those expectations will prove to be correct.
Information about the risks associated with investing in China Biologic is included in our filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, which we encourage you to review before making an investment decision. The company does not assume any obligation to update any forward-looking statements as a result of new information, future events, changes in market conditions or otherwise, except as required by law.
The company will also discuss non-GAAP measures, which are more thoroughly explained and reconciled to the most comparable measures reported under generally accepted accounting principles in the company’s earnings release and filings with the SEC. You’re reminded that such non-GAAP measures should not be viewed in isolation, or as an alternative to the equivalent GAAP measures and that non-GAAP measures are not uniformly defined by all companies, including those in the biopharmaceutical industry.
Now, I’m pleased to present Mr. Joseph Chow, Chairman and CEO of China Biologic.
Thank you, Sam. Hello, everyone, and welcome to China Biologic’s first quarter 2020 conference call. China Biologic delivered a exceptionally strong performance in the first quarter of 2020, mainly driven by substantial growth in IVIG sales connected to the outbreak of COVID-19. Despite this, the majority of our other products as standard operation, including sales and marketing activities and plasma collection, have been negatively impacted by the pandemics.
Our exceptionally strong performance in IVIG sales during the first quarter was attributable to four main factors. First, the inclusion of IVIG as a supplemental treatment for the critical conditions related to the coronavirus impact has created a short-term substantial rise in demand for IVIG, especially in Hubei province, the outbreak epicenter.
Second, we’ve received a large amount of IVIG purchase orders from supplier – from distributors in Hubei as a result of our efforts taken last year to increase distributors’ penetration in Hubei province and solidified relationship with key commercial partners. A key highlight of the successful sales and marketing strategy was the National Distributors Conference we held in Wuhan City in late 2019.
This conference gave us the opportunity to not only solidify relationship with our existing key distributors, but also build partnerships with new distributors, including some of the major players in Hubei province, convincing them to switch from our competitors to China Biologic.
Third, the high level of IVIG inventory we had built up last year due to previously sluggish sales of IVIG ensured we had sufficient supply to meet the significantly increased demand from our customers.
The fourth and final factor that contributed to the strong sales of IVIG was our self-filled cold chain logistics systems, which ensured quick response and timely delivery of products to our customers. As a result of these factors, our IVIG revenue in the first quarter of 2020 increased nearly 180% over the same quarter last year, which around 90% of this growth coming from distribution channels, over 40% of the growth coming from Hubei province.
Given the limited amount of available plasma inventory remaining and the amount of IVIG oversold in the first quarter, we anticipate that sales of IVIG will decelerate in the remaining quarters of 2020. We have already seen a decrease in demand from IVIG since March, as the epidemic situation in China has been gradually brought under control by stringent quarantine measures.
As we are collecting information to determine the consumption rates of our products in hospitals, we learned that some distributors in areas other than the hard hit Hubei province are still holding IVIG. They purchase from us in their own warehouse, as in these areas, there has been relatively low usage rate of IVIG to treat symptoms of the coronavirus.
Usage rates of IVIG to treat other disease has been lower than normal, as some patients put off going to hospital during the epidemic period. The high inventory of our distributors could negatively impact our IVIG sales to them in the next few months.
Without the exceptional contribution recorded by IVIG sales this quarter, we would potentially have seen a year-over-year decline in our total revenue and the reporting quarter, especially when compared with a high base in the first quarter of 2019, during which there was a temporary rise in demand for albumin.
Other than IVIG and albumin, most are – most of our products were negatively impacted by the epidemic, with the majority of our product sales either declining or only marginally growing.
TianXinFu’s revenue declined approximately 26% year-over-year, as a large quantity of nonurgent surgical operations in hospitals have been suspended due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Our exceptional operating income growth in the first quarter was also attributable to reduced cost, resulting from delays to our normal operational activities caused by quarantine regulations. We expect our operating expense will increase once our sales and marketing, general and administration and R&D activities gradually return to a normal level.
Taking a longer-term view, however, we expect sales and marketing expense may decrease in the future as a result of our new initiative to establish our own professional promotional team as part of a step to gradually take over the promotional activities from third-party organizations.
During the reporting quarter, our implementation of earnings growth quality management strategies since mid-2019 continued to pay off. The accounts receivable turnover days for plasma products shortened to 78 days in the first quarter of 2020, compared with 95 days in the fourth quarter of 2019, reflecting our increased collection efforts to control credit exposure and the ongoing evaluation of credit terms, especially with distributors.
We are further pleased to announce that our TianXinFu subsidiary has received a certificate of approval to manufacture a new product, second-generation artificial dura mater and began manufacturing in May.
In addition, the relevant authorities have recently completed an onsite inspection over the production line of our Shandong subsidiary’s new product, coagulation factor IX. We expect to receive the certificate of approval to manufacture this product in the second quarter and launch the product to the market in the third quarter.
Another area of operation impacted by the epidemic has been plasma collection. Total plasma collection volume in our own collection stations declined over 40% in the first quarter, compared to the same quarter last year, due to temporary closing of collection stations during the coronavirus outbreak.
Even though all of our collection stations resumed operation in March, collection was far below normal level, as fewer people are willing to come out to the station to donate plasma in fear of another sudden outbreak of virus and transportation was less convenient.
In addition, our partners in Xinjiang province has significantly reduced the volume of plasma delivered to us since late 2019, resulting in a further decline of our overall plasma supply in the reporting quarter. We’re actively taking measures to resolve these issues and minimize its negative impact. We anticipate the impact of the reduced plasma supply will be reflected in the company’s performance in the second-half of 2020 or next year.
Looking ahead to the rest of the year, we anticipate that overall sales may be under great pressure due to the declining event and the short to mid-term. The coronavirus outbreak has consumed a huge amount of medical resources in China and led to a shortage in reimbursement funding that may result in hospitals reducing their purchase of certain drugs in the next few quarters.
In addition, even if the epidemic has been largely brought under control in China, it is conceivable that for a significant period of time, people will continue to avoid going to hospitals for less urgent medical conditions in fear of another sudden outbreak of the virus.
We will make proactive adjustment to our operational strategies to mitigate the impact of those demand disruption, lower-than-expected plasma collection volume and intensified competition. Our sales and marketing focus will be on adapting our sales formats and channels, customer management and targeting our sales strategy towards hospital customers, brands and supply chains.
We will also endeavor to accelerate the process of building newly approved plasma collections stations and applying for more station permits to offset the negative impact from the lower plasma volume.
This concludes my prepared remarks. I will now turn the call over to Mr. Ming Yin, Our Senior Vice President, to review financial results for the first quarter of 2020. Ming, please go ahead.
Thank you, Joe, and hello, everyone. Now, I will walk you through the key in our items for the first quarter 2020. Total sales in the first quarter of 2020 increased by 25.3% in U.S. dollar terms, or 29.4% in RMB terms to $162.6 million from $129.8 million in the same quarter of 2019.
Total sales for biopharmaceutical products increased by 31.3% in U.S. dollar terms, or 35.7% in RMB terms to $153 million in the first quarter of 2020 from $116.5 million in the same quarter of 2019, mainly because of an increase in sales of our IVIG products, which was partly offset by a decrease in sales of albumin and placenta polypeptide products.
For plasma products, total sales in the first quarter of 2020 increased by 37.6% in U.S. dollar terms, or 42.1% in RMB terms to $149.7 million from $108.8 million in the same quarter of 2019.
Revenue from IVIG products increased by 169.7% in U.S. dollar terms, or 178.2% in RMB terms from $29 million in the first quarter of 2019 to $78.2 million in the first quarter of 2020, mainly due to a temporary substantial growth in demand for IVIG in connection with the COVID-19 outbreak, supported by our high IVIG inventory that was the result of sluggish sales of the product in the previous quarters.
The sales volume of IVIG products increased by 188.3% during this quarter over the same period of last year. The average price decreased by 6.6% in U.S. dollar terms and 3.5% in RMB terms because of a higher percentage of sales volume in the distributor channel in the first quarter of 2020 compared to the same quarter of 2019.
Revenue from human albumin decreased by 26.9% in U.S. dollar terms, or 24.5% in RMB terms to $41.5 million in the first quarter of 2020 from the exceptionally high number of $56.8 million in the first quarter of 2019, during which there was a temporary shortage of albumin supply in the market related to a lower import volume.
The sales volume of human albumin products decreased by 25.2% in the first quarter of 2020 over same quarter last year. The average price for human albumin increased by 0.9% in RMB terms compared to the same quarter of 2019, because of a higher percentage of our sales volume in the direct sales channel. In U.S. dollar terms, the average price of human albumin decreased by 2.3% in the first quarter of 2020 compared to the same quarter of 2019.
In the first quarter of 2020, IVIG and human albumin products remained our two largest sales contributors. As a percentage of total sales, sales of IVIG and human albumin products were 48.1% and 25.5%, respectively, in the first quarter of 2020.
Revenue from other immunoglobulin products increased by 3.8% in U.S. dollar terms, or 7% in RMB terms in the first quarter of 2020, compared to the same quarter of 2019, representing 8.4% of total sales, as compared to 10.1% of total sales in the same quarter of 2019.
Revenue from other plasma products increased by 66.7% in U.S. dollar terms, or 72.5% in RMB terms in the first quarter of 2020 compared to the same quarter of 2019, with a growth in revenue from all the three coagulation factor products, namely human coagulation factor VIII, human prothrombin complex concentrate and human fibrinogen products, reaching 10.1% of total sales in the first quarter of 2020, compared to 7.6% of total sales in the same quarter of 2019.
Revenue from placenta polypeptide products decreased by 57.1% in U.S. dollar terms, or 55.7% in RMB terms in the first quarter of 2020, as compared to the same quarter of 2019, accounting for 2% of total sales, compared to 5.9% of total sales in the same quarter of 2019. The main reason for this decrease was this products including in the drug lists for monitoring and prescription control in many regions, which put a downward pressure on its sales volume.
Total sales for biomaterial products in the first quarter of 2020 decreased by 27.8% in U.S. dollar terms, or 25.7% in RMB terms to $9.6 million from $13.3 million in the same quarter of 2019, mainly due to a decline in sales of artificial dura mater products in connection with a reduced number of nonurgent surgical operations during the COVID-19 outbreak.
Cost of sales increased by 39.4% to $61.6 million in the first quarter of 2020 from $44.2 million in the same quarter of 2019. As a percentage of total sales, cost of sales increased to 37.9% in the first quarter of 2020 from 34.1% in the same quarter of 2019, as a combined result of decreased sales prices for our major plasma products, lower percentages of higher-margin placenta polypeptide and dura mater products in total sales and increased plasma collection costs.
Gross profit increased by 18% to $101 million in the first quarter of 2020 from $85.6 million in the same quarter of 2019. Gross margin was 62.1% and 65.9% in the first quarter of 2020 and 2019, respectively.
Total operating expense in the first quarter of 2020 decreased by $8.6 million, or 20.7% to $33 million from $41.6 million in the same quarter of 2019. This decrease consisted of a $4.2 million decrease in selling expense and $3.8 million decrease in general and administrative expenses and a $0.6 million decrease in research and development expense. As a percentage of total sales, total operating expense decreased to 20.3% in the first quarter of 2020 from 32% in the same quarter of 2019.
Selling expense in the first quarter of 2020 decreased by $4.2 million, or 22.5% to $14.5 million from $18.7 million for the same quarter of 2019. As a percentage of total sales, selling expense decreased to 8.9% in the first quarter of 2020 from 14.4% in the same quarter of 2019.
The decrease was primarily due to a decrease in marketing and promotion expense related to placenta polypeptide products, whose sales revenue decreased significantly in the first quarter of 2020. The decrease in selling expense as a percentage of total sales was also due to a delay of normal sales and promotional activities during the COVID-19 epidemic because of quarantine regulations.
General and administrative expense decreased by $3.8 million, or 18.4% to $16.8 million in the first quarter of 2020 from $20.6 million in the same quarter of 2019. The decrease was mainly due to a decrease in allowance for doubtful accounts receivable, reflecting our effective implementation of earning quality management, as well as a decrease in consulting service fees. As a percentage of total sales, general and administrative expense decreased to 10.3% in the first quarter of 2020, compared to 15.9% in the same quarter of 2019.
Research and development expense in the first quarter of 2020 decreased by $0.6 million, or 26.1%, to $1.7 million from $2.3 million in the same quarter of 2019, with some of the clinical trial programs in hospitals and clinics being temporarily halted during the COVID-19 epidemic. As a percentage of total sales, research and development expense decreased to 1% in the first quarter of 2020 from 1.8% in the same quarter of 2019.
Income from operations in first quarter of 2020 increased by 54.5% in U.S. dollar terms, or 60.1% in RMB terms to $68 million from $44 million in the same quarter of 2019.
Operating margin increased to 41.8% in the first quarter of 2020 from 33.9% in the same quarter of 2019. Income tax expense in the first quarter of 2020 was $11.6 million, compared to $7.9 million in the same quarter of 2019. The effective income tax rate was 15.7% and 15% for the first quarter of 2020 and 2019, respectively.
Net income attributable to the company increased by 41.6% in U.S. dollar terms, or 46.3% in RMB terms to $53.4 million in the first quarter of 2020 from $37.7 million in the same quarter of 2019.
Net margin increased to 32.8% in the first quarter of 2020 from 29.1% in the same quarter of 2019. Diluted earnings per share increased to $1.36 in the first quarter of 2020, as compared to $0.94 in the same quarter of 2019.
Non-GAAP adjusted income from operations increased by 47.3% in U.S. dollar terms, or 52.1% in RMB terms to $76.9 million in the first quarter of 2020 from $52.2 million in the same quarter of 2019.
Non-GAAP adjusted net income attributable to the company increased by 38% in U.S. dollar terms, or 42.3% in RMB terms to $61.4 million in the first quarter of 2020 from $44.5 million in the same quarter of last – of 2019.
Non-GAAP net margin increased to 37.6% – 37.8% in the first quarter of 2020, compared to 34.3% in the same quarter of 2019. Non-GAAP adjusted earnings per diluted share increased to $1.56 in the first quarter of 2020, as compared to $1.11 in the same quarter of 2019.
Non-GAAP adjusted income from operations for the first quarter of 2020 excludes $6.9 million in non-cash employee share-based compensation expense and $2 million in amortization expenses of intangible assets and land use rights related to the acquisition of TianXinFu.
Non-GAAP adjusted net income and earnings per diluted share for the first quarter of 2020 exclude $6.3 million in non-cash employee share-based compensation expense and $1.7 million in amortization expenses of intangible assets and land use rights related to the acquisition of TianXinFu.
As of March 31, 2020, we had $122.9 million in cash on hand and demand deposits, $496.1 million in time deposits and $372.7 million in short-term investments. Net cash provided by operating activities for the first quarter of 2020 was $75.7 million, as compared to $32.2 million for the same quarter of 2019.
The increase of $43.5 million in net cash provided by operating activities was mainly because of a decrease in inventories and an increase in net income compared to the same quarter of 2019, which was partly offset by an increase in accounts receivable.
Inventories decreased by $33 million in the first quarter of 2020, compared to – compared with an increase of $4 million in the same quarter of 2019. The decrease of inventory in the first quarter of 2020 was primarily due – because of the exceptionally high sales volume of IVIG products during this period, which cleaned up the high IVIG inventory as of the end of year 2019.
The decrease of inventory in the first quarter of 2020 was also because of a significant decline in raw material plasma collection volume as all our plasma collection stations were closed for over one month during the COVID-19 outbreak and help contain spread of the virus and the collection volume was still below normal levels after resumption of the collection operations in March 2020.
Accounts receivable increased by $35.3 million during the first quarter of 2020, as compared to an increase of $11.6 million during the same quarter of 2019, largely in line with the increase in sales revenue.
Accounts receivable turnover days for plasma products were shortened to 78 days during the first quarter of 2020 from 100 days during the same quarter of 2019, reflecting our ongoing efforts to shorten credit terms of some of its credit distributors and increased collection efforts to control credit exposure.
Net cash used in investing activities for the first quarter of 2020 was $113.4 million, as compared to $214.7 million for the same quarter of 2019.
During the first quarter of 2020, we paid $3.2 million for the acquisition of property, plant and equipment, and intangible assets, and we also purchased time deposits and short-term investments in an amount of $859.2 million. This was partly offset by maturity value of time deposits and short-term investments of $749 million.
Net cash used in financing activities for the first quarter of 2020 was nil, as compared to $60 million for the same quarter of 2019.
Financial outlook. Finally, I would like to discuss our outlook for 2020. The COVID-19 outbreak has impacted various aspects of operations, including plasma collection, production for certain products and sales and marketing activities. We continue to actively evaluate the overall impact of outbreak on our business, and we will provide financial guidance to the market while we have a better visibility.
That concludes our prepared remarks. Operator, we’re now ready to take some questions.
Thank you. We will now begin the question-and-answer session. [Operator Instructions] The first question today comes from Jason Liu with Credit Suisse. Please go ahead.
Hi there. Thanks, management, for taking my questions. I just had two questions for the management team. One is regarding the inventory. I know we talked about that, IVIG levels of inventory has decreased. I was curious to know what current inventory levels for both albumin and IVIG is. And I was wondering if you can provide more color as to how the low collection volume will impact the inventory level for the rest of 2020?
And then my second question is around the ongoing litigation with Deyuan. I’m just curious to know what the impact is to the outstanding 192 tons of plasma remaining and how the company is looking to mitigate this? Thank you.
I will try to address your question, Jason. The first question regarding the IG and albumin inventory end of the first quarter, as Joe just mentioned previously, we had a very significant – the growth for the IG for the first quarter 2020 during the epidemic outbreaks. So we pretty much cleaned up all the previous inventory at the end of 2019.
So by the – so our operation resumed during the Chinese Spring Festival. So we pretty much resumed operation. We started to process all the plasma at that time. So by end of the first quarter, we pretty much have about three to four months. The new IVIG products available for sales for the first – end of first quarter.
Albumin, basically, we – during the virus outbreak, we pretty much designate all production capabilities to IG. So basically, we have a relatively less inventory for albumin at the end of first quarter. We probably have less two months of inventory, that’s just a straightforward answer for first question.
So second question, as we disclosed separately as a press released yesterday after market close. So basically, we had a litigation with Xinjiang Deyuan, where the partner, Xinjiang Deyuan, assure us 192 tonnes of plasma. We’re trying to continue to have a discussion with Xinjiang Deyuan and trying to convince them to start to redeliver in the plasma to us.
But in the same time – in the meantime, we were also take all the necessary – the actions, including legal actions to protect our interest, if they resist or refuse to fulfill the contract. So that’s – but in the meantime, we’re already trying to open the new centers.
As we previous disclosed in the 20-F in the – in March, we opened the new centers in Shandong recently, too, and we also had a one center through at the end of last year in – for Guizhou facility in Chongqing City. Hopefully, we can have that operations commenced by the later 2020.
So all those efforts – the new collection station we’re trying to put in the commercial operation will help to mitigate the loss from Xinjiang Deyuan, the short of their plasma they supposed to deliver to us. Hopefully, that answers your question.
This is Joe. So I just want to add a few more points. The coronavirus outbreak impact on all of us, including our competitors. And from a plasma collection standpoint, we are no worse off than our competitors. And based on the recovery rate we have so far, we are ahead of our competitors in terms of recovering the collection daily volume right now.
And as far as the impact of Deyuan on us and overall, Deyuan was about 10% of our outsourced plasma collection. Even without this dispute, Deyuan is experiencing some major difficulties in terms of working capital and also some other social situations that make collection efforts in Xinjiang more challenging than normal.
Now you’ll throw on top of the coronavirus outbreak and all the disruption of supply chains, and it does have an impact on us, but we think the impact is manageable. Collectively speaking, there will be major shortages of plasma from all competitors. And so that’s where it is, and a couple of things could happen.
The plasma collection may recover because, say, more people as they become comfortable, the outbreak has stabilized, because the unemployment situation, people have boring incentives to go to the collection stations. And so there are a couple of things. The dynamic of the market is shifting on a daily basis. And we would like to have a steady supply of plasma, but I’m sure all our competitors share the same view. And so that’s where we are.
And we’re basically holding our breath and hope there is not going to be a second wave of attack from the virus, just like many of our friends in North America, assuming the same. So that’s as much of a answer, longwinded as my best effort to give you some color on where we see the thing is going. Hopefully, that addressed your questions, Jason.
Yes to that. Thank you. Thank you, both.
[Operator Instructions] The next question today comes from Stephanie Hanna with Dealreporter. Please go ahead.
Hi, guys. Yes, just wanted to clarify the rough split between plasma that’s sourced at CBPO’s own collection stations versus the outsourced plasma. I wasn’t sure if Xinjiang Deyuan is the only, like external supplier that you use or if you use other suppliers as well? Hello?
Can you paraphrase, again, because I…
I’m not sure I understood the question. So can you repeat the question again?
Yes. So I – if Xinjiang Deyuan, the only external supplier that you use, or do you have other external suppliers?
Xinjiang is the only one.
Okay, okay. So then only – you said earlier, only 10% of plasma collection comes from them?
Okay. The other question I had was just on the equity incentive plan. There was a filing recently about that. Is that open to all the staff at CBPO? Or is that just senior management who can participate?
Well, I think, the – I assume you’re referring to the recent – the S8 registration statement we filed with the SEC, right?
…for the 1.65 million ordinary shares. Yes, I think that’s the 2019 equity incentive plan, which was adopted the – in the last year, the May, and we disclosed in the previous filings. So basically, this registration does not actually represent issuance shares. So these shares was only issued when the incentive awards were granted under the 2019 equity incentive plan vested or are exercised in accordance with the relevant award agreements.
As disclosed in our latest 20-F, our Board have granted certain restricted share units to certain directors only in May 2019 and under the 2019 incentive plan. So the first batch of the RSU, restricted share units will vest in May 2020, which was – promote us to register the shares under the 2019 plan before having the share issued. So hopefully, that address your questions.
Well, the second part of your question is the equity only given to senior management? The answer is no. There’s a pretty good-sized pool of people who participated in this, say, stock incentive – stock-based incentive plan, because it is our belief that our key employees should also enjoy or share the upside of their outstanding work. And there are more than 80 people in this program. Hope that give you an idea
Okay. Yes, yes. Thank you, guys.
[Operator Instructions] We are – this concludes our question-and-answer session. I would now like to turn the call back over to Mr. Joseph Chow, Chairman and CEO, for any closing remarks.
Well, thank you for your participation and ongoing support of China Biologic, and have a great day.
This conference has concluded. Thank you for attending today’s presentation. You may now disconnect.