Feb. 14 (Bloomberg) -- Actelion Ltd., the Swiss maker of the Tracleer lung drug, rose in Zurich trading after proposing a larger-than-expected dividend.
Actelion will increase its dividend by 25 percent to 1 Swiss franc per share from 80 centimes a year earlier, the Allschwil-based company said in a statement today. Analysts forecast a payout of 77 centimes a share, the average of 16 estimates compiled by Bloomberg. The stock gained 2 percent after the company reported earnings and sales in line with analyst forecasts.
Profit this year will about match figures from last year, with “single-digit percentage growth in 2014” and a double-digit increase in 2015, Actelion said, repeating a previous forecast. The company has applied for regulatory approval for Opsumit, a successor to Tracleer.
The dividend increase, along with a share buyback and cost reductions, “demonstrate the company’s drive to improve returns,” Peter Welford, an analyst at Jefferies International Ltd. in London, wrote in a report today. He recommends buying the shares.
Actelion closed at 46.41 Swiss francs in Zurich, giving the company a market value of 5.88 billion francs ($6.4 billion).
Core earnings rose 12 percent last year to 537 million francs, or 3.69 francs a share, from 480.6 million francs, or 3.04 francs, a year earlier. Analysts predicted 3.70 francs a share, the average of seven estimates compiled by Bloomberg. Revenue fell 3.8 percent to 1.73 billion francs, matching the average analyst estimate.
Tracleer accounts for 87 percent of Actelion’s sales and starts losing patent protection in 2016.
“This year brings a little more uncertainty to the table,” Michael Leuchten, an analyst at Barclays Plc in London, wrote in a note today. “While bringing the product to market shouldn’t be a challenge for Actelion, the extent of conversion of Tracleer patients to the new product remains a question.”
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