CSL's annual general meeting goes virtual

Latest News

CSL has held a virtual annual general meeting with AstraZeneca CEO Pascal Soriot attending his first as a director of the company.

In a virtual address to the meeting, CSL chairman Brian MacNamee AO welcomed Mr Soriot to the company's board and acknowledged the global impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"What a difference a year makes," said Mr MacNamee.

"This time last year we held - for the first time in the history of our company - an AGM outside of Melbourne, and during that week we recognised our 25th anniversary as a listed company on the Australian Securities Exchange.

"Clearly. there is a little less fanfare this year but as we move through our 26th year as a listed entity, we could not possibly have imagined ourselves hosting an AGM that is entirely dependent on the technology not failing!"

"There is not one of us who hasn’t experienced its effects in some way. While this deeply challenging circumstance has added complexity to our business and operating environment, it has also demonstrated to us just how critical having a Values-based culture as the bedrock of the organisation is to sustain us through tough situations like this," he said.

Mr MacNamee, who served as the company's CEO for 23 years, was appointed its chairman in 2019.

He said the company is focussed on four therapeutic areas and plans to invest $1.6 billion in capital projects in the next year.

"The construction of our new 16-storey global R&D hub facility and corporate headquarters in the heart of Melbourne’s biomedical precinct is tracking along well, scheduled to open in 2023," he said.

CEO Paul Perreault used his address to highlight the company's performance, headlined by a 9 per cent increase in revenue and a 17 per cent rise in net profit after tax.

Mr Perreault said the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the company's plasma collections with volumes "still some way" from the corresponding period last year. However, he added, "over the first quarter of this financial year, as each week passes our plasma collections have been growing."

He also pointed to the "great deal of community interest in the development" of a COVID-19 vaccine.

"CSL is working closely, and at pace, with the Commonwealth Government of Australia, the University of Queensland and AstraZeneca to manufacture candidate vaccines should clinical trials prove successful," he said.

The company is also planning to open 20-30 new plasma collection centres in the US during the current financial year. The US is home to the vast majority of its plasma collection centres.

He said the company expects revenue growth for the current financial year in the range of 6-10 per cent and net profit after take to be around 3-8 per cent higher than the previous year.