MUMBAI (Reuters) – Indian drugmaker Lupin Ltd is looking for acquisitions in the United States and in emerging markets to expand its overseas operations, its chairman said on Wednesday.

Desh Bandhu Gupta said Mumbai-based Lupin, which bought a stake in a Japanese generic drugmaker last year, aimed to bolster its presence in the Middle East, Southeast Asia and Latin America through acquisitions of drug formulation companies.

“These markets are very rewarding and we are working on acquiring something… It will happen this year itself,” he told reporters, after releasing quarterly results that beat expectations and lifted its shares more than 4 percent.

Lupin is also hoping to clinch a brand in the United States, the largest drug market, by the end of the fiscal year, said Vinita Gupta, president of Lupin’s U.S. unit.

“We want to build on our Suprax portfolio. We are looking at brands, or companies with brands, that will add $20-$25 million to revenue,” she said. “Our focus is the paediatric market.”

Suprax is the company’s antibiotic brand in the United States.

Last year, Lupin acquired a majority stake in Japanese drugmaker Kyowa Pharmaceutical Industry Co Ltd and Gujarat-based Rubamin Laboratories Ltd, a maker of raw materials for bulk drugs on a contract manufacturing basis.

Lupin posted a net profit of 961 million rupees ($23 million) for the fiscal fourth quarter ended March, above analysts’ expectations for 858.8 million.

The profit was 32 percent lower than the year-ago’s 1.41 billion rupees, which was bolstered by a one-time gain of 750 million rupees.

Net sales rose 41 percent to 7.5 billion rupees, topping estimates for 7 billion rupees.

Net profit for 2007/08 rose 32 percent to 4.08 billion rupees while revenue grew 34 percent to 27.06 billion.

A combination of organic and inorganic growth is expected to help the company post a more than 40 percent growth in revenue for 2008/09, Chairman Gupta said, with the Japanese unit contributing 3.5 billion rupees.

In 2008/09, Lupin plans to spend 3 billion rupees in capital expenditure, part of which will be to build a new unit to work on biological drugs, he said.

“Operationally they have performed better than our expectations,” an analyst tracking the company said, declining to be identified. “The 40 percent forecast seems a little stretched.”

Lupin’s shares ended up 3.1 percent at 581.85 rupees in a Mumbai market that rose 1.4 percent. The stock has, however, fallen 8.2 percent this year, worse than the BSE Healthcare index <.BSEHC> that has dropped 3.8 percent. ($1 = 42.4 rupees) (Reporting by Bharghavi Nagaraju; Editing by Ranjit Gangadharan)

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