Celltrion maintains IPO timetable despite accounting inspection

By Sohn Ji-young
  • Published : Mar 20, 2017 - 15:51
  • Updated : Mar 20, 2017 - 18:05
South Korean drugmaker Celltrion said Sunday that it does not expect to make changes to Celltrion Healthcare’s initial public offering timetable, brushing off concerns the listing process could be significantly delayed due to additional accounting inspections.

The statement came following reports the Korean Institute of Certified Public Accountants has requested an in-depth audit into Celltrion Healthcare’s accounting methods, a move that could push back the firm’s IPO.

Celltrion said it expects the inspection to “swiftly conclude,” noting there would be “no changes” in the scheduled listing of its marketing and sales unit Celltrion Healthcare by Sept. 14, the legal deadline for the IPO. The company has said previously it aims to complete the process by April at the earliest, months before the deadline.

Celltrion`s headquarters in Songdo, Incheon (Park Hyun-koo/The Korea Herald)

The KICPA, which inspects the financial records of unlisted companies, has reportedly discerned that Celltrion Healthcare may have overcalculated by some 10 billion won ($8.93 million) earnings from one of its drugs, Truxima in 2015.

According to Celltrion, KICPA has taken issue with the accounting methods under which Celltrion Healthcare calculated the value of a contract deposit paid by one of its global marketing partners.

Celltrion Healthcare viewed the deposit as debt, as it must be returned to the giver if the drug fails to obtain sales approval. At the same time, the firm calculated the profit it would earn from interest generated by withholding the deposit until the product’s approval into its 2015 earnings.

KICPA has claimed that Celltrion Healthcare must calculate the interest profit into its earnings at the point of which it returns the deposit, rather than when it obtains the deposit.

Celltrion said it has already fixed its 2015 financial records to meet the KICPA’s standard. The Korean drugmaker expects the additional inspection to swiftly conclude, as the issue in question is “unrelated to Celltrion Healthcare’s main business activities” and “poses little impact on the firm’s IPO criteria as well as expected market capitalization.”

The Korea Exchange approved Celltrion Healthcare’s listing on the Kosdaq last Tuesday, paving way for the company to kick-start its IPO by submitting a securities report to the Financial Service Commission.

Celltrion Healthcare is looking to raise up to 1 trillion won through the IPO, as it has set an indicative price range of between 33,300 won to 41,000 won per share, according to the KRX.

Celltrion Healthcare markets sells and distributes Celltrion’s biosimilar drugs, which are cheaper near-replicas of biologic drugs that have lost patent protection.

Its IPO plans come as global sales of Celltrion’s two biosimilars referencing the blockbuster drugs Remicade and Rituxan are set to actively take off from this year.

Last year, Celltrion Healthcare recorded net profit of 122.9 billion won and revenue of 757.7 billion won, up by 88.3 percent and 329.7 percent on-year, respectively. 

By Sohn Ji-young (