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Grifols' shares fall 6% on media report of possible capital increase

·1 min read
The logo of the Spanish pharmaceuticals company Grifols is pictured on their headquarters' building in Sant Cugat del Valles

MADRID (Reuters) - Shares of Spanish pharmaceuticals company Grifols were down 6% on Wednesday morning after news website El Confidencial reported the company was considering a 2 billion euro ($2.10 billion) capital increase to reduce its debt.

Quoting unidentified market sources, the news outlet reported that Grifols, which specialises in blood plasma-based drugs, was negotiating with several funds over a capital increase equivalent to almost 20% of the company valuation.

A spokesperson at Grifols said the company would not comment on market rumours.

Spanish broker Sabadell said a potential capital increase was negative, unexpected news, and comes just as Grifols is starting to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Bearing in mind the incipient operating recovery, the lack of covenants on its debt and significant maturities until 2025, we were not expecting a capital increase," Sabadell said in a note to clients.

The company, controlled by the Grifols family, has suffered during the COVID-19 pandemic as its collection of blood plasma, the raw material for its drugs, all but collapsed as it had to close most its collection centres.

The company's net profit fell 70% in 2021.

Volumes of collected blood plasma returned to pre-pandemic levels in the first quarter of 2022.

With debt of 5.8 billion euros ($6.1 billion), the equivalent of five times its earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation in 2021, Grifols has said it intended to cut its debt to a ratio of 4 through cost-cutting, lower capital expenditure, and refraining from cash dividends and acquisitions.

The company is scheduled to hold an investors' day on Thursday and could release more details regarding its plans.

($1 = 0.9511 euros)

(Reporting by Emma Pinedo; editing by Inti Landauro and Jason Neely)