By Dominic Chopping
Danish pharmaceutical company Novo Nordisk AS (NOVO-B.KO) on Wednesday posted a forecast-beating rise in fourth-quarter revenue, helped by strong sales of its diabetes and obesity treatments.
Net profit for the three months ended Dec. 31 rose to 8.72 billion Danish kroner ($1.29 billion) from DKK8.5 billion a year earlier, missing the DKK9.2 billion forecast by analysts in a FactSet poll. Sales rose 9% to DKK32.42 billion against analysts' expectations of DKK31.95 billion.
Sales in the quarter found support from Novo Nordisk's diabetes treatments, as well as increased sales in obesity care and biopharm, offset by declining insulin sales.
The company noted that margins were hurt by lower prices in the U.S. and currency effects.
For 2020, sales growth is expected to be 3%-6% measured in local currencies, reflecting expectations for robust sales of the company's diabetes care products Ozempic, Victoza and Rybelsus, obesity care product Saxenda, the portfolio of new-generation insulin and biopharm products Esperoct, Refixia and NovoEight.
The guidance also reflects intensifying competition both within diabetes care and biopharm, as well as continued pricing pressure within diabetes care and affordability initiatives in the U.S., it said.
Sales growth reported in Danish kroner is expected to be one percentage point higher than in local currencies.
Operating profit growth is expected to be 1% to 5% measured in local currencies. Reported in Danish kroner it is expected to be one percentage point higher than in local currencies.
Capital expenditure is expected to be around DKK6.5 billion in 2020, primarily relating to investments in additional capacity for production within diabetes care.
The company proposed a final dividend of DKK5.35 a share for 2019, bringing the total dividend for 2018 to DKK8.35. The board intends to initiate a new 12-month share-repurchase program of up to DKK17 billion.
Write to Dominic Chopping at firstname.lastname@example.org