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Analysts left red faced by drug group.

Shire Pharmaceuticals Group posted a better-than-expected 25 per cent rise in second-quarter underlying profits yesterday, a day after it won shareholder backing for a major US biotech acquisition.

Britain's third-biggest drugmaker said earnings per share rose to 23 cents in the three months to June 30 from 18.4 cents in the same period of 2004. Analysts polled by the company had, on average, expected a fall in earnings to 16 cents, with estimates ranging from 4 to 20 cents.

'We continue to deliver on our promises, achieving good financial results and meeting key strategic milestones. Our underlying business continues to perform strongly,' chief executive Matthew Emmens said in a statement.

He added that new product launches were going well, and the company successfully filed its Methypatch (MTS) drug with the US Food and Drug Administration at the end of June.

Revenue for the quarter rose 32 percent to pounds 249.7 million, against analysts' forecasts of 214.1 million. Its key Adderall XR drug made pounds 120.8 million - pounds 14.1 million more than forecast.

Revenue growth for 2005 was expected to be in the low double-digit percentage range, revised from a previous forecast of high single-digit to low double-digit, it said.

On Wednesday, the firm won backing for its $1.6 billion (pounds 941. million) bid for Transkaryotic Therapies Inc from the US biotech's shareholders, despite a rebellion by a minority of investors.

The deal, which was also endorsed by Shire shareholders, is central to Shire's goal of broadening its drug line-up and reducing reliance on top-selling hyperactivity drug Adderall XR, which could face cheap, generic competition from 2006.

Shire said the acquisition, which will be funded from the company's existing cash resources, would significantly enhance sales and earnings growth beyond 2007.

The firm said growth in new product sales would increasingly absorb the high cost of four product launches in the first half
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Title Annotation:Business
Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Jul 29, 2005
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