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Hikma Raises 2013 Sales Forecast, to Pay Special Dividend

Aug. 21 (Bloomberg) -- Hikma Pharmaceuticals Plc raised this year’s revenue forecast for a third time after halting sales of an anti-infective medicine in the U.S., then benefiting from a spike in demand when the drug went back on sale.

Revenue in 2013 will rise by about 20 percent, compared with a previous forecast of about 17 percent, the London-based company said in a statement today. The drugmaker will also pay a special dividend.

Hikma withdrew doxycycline, an anti-infective used to treat illnesses such as Lyme disease, then put it back on the market and profited from the increased demand and higher prices, Chief Executive Officer Said Darwazah said in an interview.

After the U.S. Food and Drug Administration sent a warning letter to the company last year for manufacturing violations, “we thought, ’Let’s take it easy, slow down production and work hard,’” Darwazah said. “When we left the market, competition raised the prices and that forced us to raise our prices.”

Companies including Watson Pharmaceuticals struggled to keep up with doxycycline demand in January, according to the FDA, disrupting supply and fueling price increases. While doxycycline prices are declining they are still “quite high,” Darwazah said.

Injectable Drugs

Manufacturing disruptions last year among makers of injectable drugs in the U.S. created an opportunity for Hikma to expand market share in that business. Sales in Hikma’s injectable unit gained 9.5 percent to $246.6 million in the first semester.

Hikma raised its half-year dividend to 7 cents a share from 6 cents a year earlier, and announced a special dividend of 3 cents. The company also raised its sales forecast on May 16 and July 8.

Hikma rose 0.5 percent to close at 1,095 pence in London, giving the company a market value of 2.2 billion pounds ($3.5 billion). The stock has returned 45 percent this year, compared with a 20 percent return for the Bloomberg Europe Pharmaceutical Index.

Profit excluding some costs surged 157 percent to $121.2 million in the first half, while revenue increased 20 percent to $638.3 million.

Hikma, which was founded in Jordan in 1978 by Chairman Samih Darwazah, operates in the Middle East, North Africa and the U.S.

To contact the reporter on this story: Trista Kelley in London at tkelley2@bloomberg.net

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

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