India's Wockhardt shares dive on US import ban

Shares of Indian pharmaceuticals firm Wockhardt plunged nearly 19 percent Friday, a day after it said the US drugs regulator had banned imports from one of its manufacturing units over quality concerns.

Wockhardt shares fell as far as 18.9 percent to 1,066 rupees ($19) -- a near nine-month-low -- at the Bombay Stock Exchange.

Its shares initially fell by 20.1 percent Thursday after the firm said it feared a loss of $100 million in annual revenues due to the import ban issued Wednesday.

The US Food and Drug Administration issued an "import alert" on a Wockhardt factory located in the city of Aurangabad in western Maharashtra state, citing concerns over the quality of drugs produced at the unit.

An import alert bans drugs that have not met good manufacturing standards, according to the US drug regulator's website.

The action against Wockhardt comes just days after New Delhi-based Ranbaxy Laboratories, India's largest drugmaker by sales, pleaded guilty in the US to charges of manufacturing adulterated medicines at two Indian plants.

Ranbaxy has agreed to a $500-million settlement.

Mumbai-based Wockhardt, a pharmaceutical and biotechnology company, employs 7,900 people worldwide and has 14 manufacturing plants in India, Britain, Ireland, France and the United States.

Wockhardt has said it will continue to export medicines made at the company's 13 other plants.

The firm earned revenues of 25.81 billion rupees ($469 million) in the financial year ending March 2012. Its full-year earnings data for the last fiscal year will be announced on May 27.

Wockhardt's shares recovered slightly after the initial dive and were down 11.03 percent at 1,170.15 rupees later in Friday morning trade.