Novo's operating profits expected to jump, key drugs data ahead

Friday, Jan 29, 2016

Denmark's Novo Nordisk is expected to announce a 44 pct rise in annual operating profits in its earnings report on Wednesday, as investors await crucial drug test results.

The world's largest insulin maker is expected to post 2015 operating profit of 49.6 billion Danish crowns ($7.25 billion) up from 34.5 billion last year, a Reuters poll of analysts showed.

Upcoming results from studies for two of its growth-driving drugs, the ultra-long acting insulin Tresiba and GLP-1 Victoza, will be critical, analysts said.

Results from the SWITCH study, comparing Tresiba's effect on low blood sugar with the Lantus from Sanofi, could come within days. Tresiba's long-awaited U.S launch was announced earlier this week.

A bigger impact may come from a cardiovascular trial of Victoza, expected by the end of the first quarter. Results will indicate whether the drug reduces the risk of heart attacks and strokes for diabetics.

Brokerage Leerink said results of that study could be "the biggest stock mover in 2016" and Nordea reckoned Novo's share price could rise by 10 percent should the results be positive.

The study has become even more critical after the success of Eli Lilly and Boehringer Ingelheim's Jardiance pill in cutting deaths in diabetics with heart risk.

Novo Nordisk has targeted 15 percent operating profit growth since 1996. It reached growth of 10 percent and below 10 percent in 2014 and 2013 although in the previous two years growth was just below and just above 30 percent.

It may cut the target next week, according to analysts, after its steady expansion has made it increasingly difficult for Novo Nordisk to keep up a growth level measured in percentages. Its profits have grown over 230 percent since 2009 while its share price has climbed almost 700 percent during that time.

Novo is expected by analysts to post 2015 revenues of 107.7 billion crowns up from 88.8 billion one year ago.

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