Aug 17 (Reuters) - Australian biotech giant CSL Ltd
said annual profit fell due to declining donations of blood
plasma, the key ingredient of its products, and flagged higher
staffing costs as collection volumes returned to pre-pandemic
Australia's third-largest company makes most of its money
paying people in the United States for blood plasma which it
converts to treatments for rare diseases, but since the onset of
COVID-19 in 2020 it has experienced a slump in donations because
of movement restrictions and health concerns.
That resulted in a 6% dip in year-to-June profit to $2.24
billion, in line with the company's guidance. The former
government laboratory said donations rebounded by a quarter
since it raised the fees it pays, setting it up for stronger
sales, but added that rising costs would constrain profit
"Costs are up, employee costs are up, the amount of people
(available) to work, especially in the retail sector, is very
tight," CEO Paul Perreault said on a media call.
Wages at its more than 300 collection centres were up as
much as 10%, which Perreault called "a signfiant increase to
The update shows how raging inflation is impacting the top
tier of the Australian economy. CSL shares were down 4% by
mid-session, against a flat overall market, as analysts
recalculated forecasts to include the changed operating
"Higher cost of plasma is expected to continue," Jefferies
analysts said in a client note, which also noted profit margins
from CSL's blood plasma sales had thinned more than expected.
Offsetting the profit decline, CSL's vaccine business, which
brings a sixth of profit, grew its contribution 16% as the
pandemic stoked demand for inoculations against COVID-19 and
other viruses like influenza.
CSL said it expected net profit in fiscal 2023 between $2.4
billion and $2.5 billion and declared a final dividend of $1.18
per share, unchanged from last year.
(Reporting by Byron Kaye in Sydney and Roushni Nair and
Jaskiran Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Shailesh Kuber and