Novo Nordisk Sees Lower Growth in Sales, Earnings Next Year

Novo Nordisk A/S (NOVOB), the world’s biggest insulin maker, reported a 13 percent increase in third-quarter profit on and said it expects “high” single-digit sales and operating profit growth next year on rising revenue from its Victoza diabetes treatment.

Third-quarter net income climbed to 6.42 billion kroner ($1.18 billion) from 5.67 billion kroner a year earlier, the Bagsvaerd, Denmark-based company said in a statement today. That missed the 6.55 billion kroner average estimate of 16 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg.

“Sales growth continues to be driven by our portfolio of modern insulins and Victoza,” Chief Executive Officer Lars Rebien Soerensen, said in today’s statement.

Revenue from Victoza, which mimics a hormone called GLP-1 and stimulates natural insulin production, jumped 14 percent to 2.85 billion kroner in the quarter, missing the average analyst estimate of 3.03 billion kroner. Sales of its so-called modern insulins, including Levemir, climbed 5.8 percent to 9.39 billion kroner.

Victoza has been helping Novo sustain growth following the rejection of Tresiba in the U.S. earlier this year. The Food and Drug Administration demanded a new study to assess the heart risk of the new insulin. Novo originally aimed for approval for the treatment the world’s biggest drug market as early as 2012. It’s now targeting a U.S. introduction by 2016 or 2017.

The medicine, approved in the European Union, is already sold in Denmark, the U.K., Switzerland, Sweden, Mexico, Japan and India. Novo needs Tresiba to help it challenge Sanofi (SAN)’s top-selling Lantus insulin, which last year amassed 4.96 billion euros ($6.83 billion) in sales.

In August, the Danish company raised its 2013 sales and profit forecasts on higher revenue from Victoza and left the guidance unchanged today. Novo estimates full-year sales growth excluding currency shifts of 11 percent to 13 percent.

Novo shares have returned 8.5 percent including reinvested dividends over the past year, compared with a 26 percent return for the Bloomberg Europe Pharmaceutical Index.

To contact the reporter on this story: Albertina Torsoli in Geneva at atorsoli@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Phil Serafino in Paris at pserafino@bloomberg.net

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