Dutch drug maker Novo Nordisk A/S (NVO: Quote) Thursday reported a higher fourth-quarter profit, reflecting a 12 percent increase in sales and improved margins. For the full year 2012, the company expects growth in sales and operating profit compared to the previous year.
In the fourth quarter, the company's net profit increased to 4.69 billion Danish kroner from 3.95 billion kroner in the previous year. On a per share basis, earnings improved to 8.33 kroner from 6.82 kroner in the prior year.
Sales for the quarter grew 12 percent to 18.12 billion kroner from 16.12 billion kroner reported last year. The company attributed the growth in sales to Victoza, the modern insulins and NovoSeven. Victoza sales of 2.1 billion were mainly driven by the US and Europe, the company stated.
Gross margin was 82.8 percent, compared to 80.9 percent a year ago, helped mainly by a positive currency impact and a favorable development in product mix.
For the full year, net profit increased to 17.1 billion kroner from 14.4 billion kroner in the previous year. Earnings per share rose to 29.99 kroner from 24.6 kroner per share a year earlier. Annual sales grew 9 percent to 66.35 billion kroner from 60.78 billion kroner last year. Sales increased 11 percent in local currencies.
Sales of diabetes care products for the year increased 13 percent in local currencies and 10 percent in Danish kroner. Sales of modern insulins, human insulins and protein-related products improved 5 percent in local currencies and 3 percent in Danish kroner.
Lars Rebien Sørensen, president and CEO of the company said, "2011 has been a very positive year for Novo Nordisk, with Victoza, NovoRapid and Levemir continuing to drive strong sales growth. In addition, we saw significant progress for our portfolio of clinical development projects which is very encouraging for the long-term outlook for Novo Nordisk."
Rebien Sørensen has accepted a proposal by the board of directors to extend his contract by three years with expiry in 2019, the company said.
Looking ahead to the full year 2012, the company expects sales growth in local currencies to be 7 to 11 percent. Sales growth, as reported, is expected to be around 4 percentage points higher. The company anticipates operating profit growth in local currencies to be around 10 percent. On a reported basis, operating profit growth is anticipated to be around 7 percentage points higher.
The company has also proposed a dividend of 14 kroner per share for the financial year 2011, a 40 percent increase compared to the year 2010.
In addition, the board has approved a new 12 billion kroner share repurchase programme to be executed during the coming 12 months.
In Copenhagen, Novo Nordisk shares are currently trading at 706.5 kroner, up 26.5 kroner or 3.89 percent, on a volume of 901 thousand shares.
In US, the shares closed Wednesday's regular trading at $120.73 on the NYSE. In the pre-market activity, the shares are up 3.93 percent.
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by RTT Staff Writer
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