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UCB Forecasts Lower Revenue, Profit For 2012

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Belgium-based biopharmaceutical and specialty chemical firm UCB SA (UCB: Quote) reported Friday a higher profit for 2011, but forecast lower earnings and revenues for 2012 reflecting patent expiries of mature drugs.

Sales growth in its core medicines Cimzia, Vimpat and Neupro aided the 2011 results. The company said growth from new medicines offset declines in its mature product portfolio due to patent expiries.

Cimzia is for Crohn's disease and rheumatoid arthritis, Vimpat is an anti-epileptic medicine, and Neupro is a patch for Parkinson's disease and restless legs syndrome.

Core medicines' combined net sales surged 51 percent to 625 million euros. Anti-epileptic drug Keppra delivered a strong performance with net sales of 966 million euros, up 3 percent from last year.

Roch Doliveux, chief executive officer of the company said, "The growth of Cimzia, Vimpat, and Neupro combined with the robustness of Keppra more than offset the impact of generic erosion of several mature products and enabled accelerated investments in UCB's future."

"Our solid 2011 performance, the momentum of our new medicines, new geographies and our promising pipeline provide a platform for future sustainable growth without major patent expiries ahead," added Doliveux.

In 2011, the company's net profit increased to 235 million euros from 103 million euros in the previous year. Adjusted net profit, which excluded one-time items, was 225 million euros, down from 239 million euros in the prior year.

Core net profit declined 6 percent at actual rates to 337 million euros. On a per-share basis, core basic earnings dropped to 1.89 euros from 1.99 euros per share a year earlier, reflecting the impact from accelerated research and development expenses.

Revenues for the year increased 1 percent to 3.25 billion euros from 3.22 billion euros in the prior year. At constant rates, revenue growth was 2 percent. Net sales were 2.88 billion euros, up 3 percent, helped by solid performance of core medicines Cimzia, Vimpat and Neupro as well as Keppra in Europe and Japan.

For 2012, core earnings per share are estimated to be in the range of 1.60 euros - 1.70 euros, while revenues are anticipated at about 3.1 billion euros, both lower than 2011 levels. Recurring EBITDA is expected at about 630 million to 660 million euros, down from 2011 level of 683 million euros.

In addition, the board has recommended a gross dividend of 1.00 euro per share.

In Brussels, UCB shares closed Thursday's regular trading at 29.67 euros, down 2.12 percent.

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by RTT Staff Writer

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