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Excitement About Pharma Sector Amid Covid-19 May be Overdone: Samir Arora

Representative Image

Representative Image

Contrary to the view that pharma companies are emerging as safer bets for the investors, he feels that the pandemic could have an adverse effect on most companies, near term.

Amid improved investor perception of the pharmaceutical sector following the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, veteran investor Samir Arora says the excitement about the sector may be overdone. Contrary to the view that pharma companies are emerging as safer bets for the investors, he feels that the pandemic could have an adverse effect on most companies, near term.

"If we are obsessed about COVID, will you eat extra medicines for diabetes or for heart (ailments)? You may wash your hands a few times. So there is no such advantage. Maybe the US, for whatever reason, has become kind towards India and giving some faster approvals, and second, it is a market issue," CNBC-TV18 quoted Arora as saying.

According to him, data shows that every year about 90 stocks out of 300, which is just 30 per cent, stocks do well.

"Therefore the thing is that the relative position of pharma within India has changed because other sectors have been badly hit. Let us not give it some big picture that people will buy more medicines, in fact, they might be buying less medicines right now because all the hospitals are effectively closed for surgeries and people are trying to do everything while sitting at home and maybe they have bought extra medicines for two months because they are worried that the chemists might close down in between,” he said.

Talking about investor perception of pharma stocks, Arora says that he will not buy stocks just because they have fallen 50-60 per cent. "Buy the stocks, which are down 15-25 percent because that looks like a fair starting point and maybe buy two-three stocks which are down 50 percent on the basis – this looks good and if things go back to normal even after a year or one and a half years and these prices go back to what they were in February then there will be a great return," Arora said.

"We bought one hotel company on the basis that three years later if the price is what it was in February, effectively it is near double,” he said.