UCB raises 2015 forecast as core drugs outperform

Friday, Jul 31, 2015

Belgian pharmaceutical company UCB raised its 2015 forecasts on Friday as sales of its three major upcoming drugs propelled first-half earnings by more than expected.

UCB said it now expected revenue this year of 3.65-3.75 billion euros, a 0.1 billion euro hike from before, recurring core profit (REBITDA) at the top of its previous 710-740 million euro range and core earnings per share of 1.90-2.05 euros.

The company, which makes drugs targeted at diseases of the immune and central nervous systems, said recurring core profit (REBITDA) in the first half rose 49 percent to 464 million euros.

That compared with the average 360 million euros expected in a Reuters poll of six analysts.

The expansion came from a 21 percent surge in revenue to 1.9 billion euros and a lesser rise of costs other than research and development.

UCB said combined sales of newer drugs Cimzia, to treat bowel disorder Crohn's disease and rheumatoid arthritis, epilepsy treatment Vimpat and Neupro for Parkinson's disease and restless leg syndrome, rose 40 percent.

UCB said sales of Cimzia, one of three major new drugs launched in recent years, rose 39 percent to 490 million euros, above market expectation.

Sales of Vimpat, increased by 49 percent to 323 million euros, above the market expectation of 279 million euros.

Sales of Neupro rose 26 percent to 129 million euros, against an expected 119 million euros.

Even sales of older epilepsy drug Keppra, now facing generic competition, increased by 14 percent, more than expected with growth in newer markets.

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