Danish pharmaceutical company Novo Nordisk A/S (NOVO-B.KO) on Wednesday reported a forecast-beating 7.4% rise in first-quarter net profit and narrowed its growth targets for the year to reflect a positive currency impact.
Sales in the quarter were boosted by sales of new diabetes and obesity drugs and ongoing cost controls, but the company said growth in North America was weighed by adjustments to rebates in the Medicaid programme and the launch of a generic version of a feminine medication.
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Reported sales growth in 2017 is now expected to be 1% to 4% measured in Danish kroner, while reported operating profit growth is now expected to be 0% to 4% measured in Danish kroner, both reflecting a positive currency impact of 1 percentage point.
"With the performance in the first three months, we are well on track towards our targets for 2017," said Chief Executive Lars Fruergaard Jorgensen. "Sales were driven by our new, innovative products within diabetes and obesity care and we are seeing the effects of our cost control initiatives, enabling us to invest in future growth opportunities."
Growth this year is expected to be underpinned by a robust performance in its modern insulin and obesity drugs, but the company said that hurdles in the U.S., including lower prices, generic products and intensifying competition, as well as adverse macroeconomic conditions in several international markets, will keep a lid on growth.
Net profit for the three months ended March 31 rose to 10.16 billion Danish kroner ($1.49 billion) from DKK9.46 billion in the same period last year, beating analysts' expectations of DKK8.92 billion according to a FactSet poll. Sales rose to DKK28.45 billion from DKK27.21 billion.
Write to Dominic Chopping at email@example.com; Twitter: @domchopping @WSJNordics
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
May 03, 2017 02:45 ET (06:45 GMT)