Shares in Spanish drugmaker Grifols fell more than 8% on Wednesday morning, after news website El Confidencial reported that the company was studying a €2,000 capital increase. million euros ($2.1 billion) to reduce debt.
Citing unnamed market sources, the news outlet said that Grifols, which specializes in blood plasma-based drugs, is negotiating a capital increase equivalent to almost 20% of the company’s valuation with various funds.
A Grifols spokesman said the company would not comment on market rumours.
Spanish broker Sabadell said a possible capital increase is negative and unexpected news, coming just as Grifols is beginning to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Taking into account the incipient recovery, the absence of ‘covenants’ (clauses to guarantee payment) in its debt and relevant maturities until 2025, we did not expect a capital increase,” Sabadell said in a note to clients.
Grifols shares fell 8.4% by 0840 GMT.
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, practically collapsed as it had to close most of its collection centers.
The company’s net profit fell 70% in 2021.
The collected blood plasma volumes 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 gross operating profit (EBITDA) in 2021, Grifols has said it intends to reduce its net financial debt to EBITDA ratio by up to below 4 by cutting costs, reducing capital investment, and forgoing cash dividends and acquisitions.
The company is scheduled to hold an investor day on Thursday and could release more details about its plans.