Actelion Raises Forecast Amid Higher Sales of New Medicine

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Actelion Ltd. boosted its earnings forecast and Chief Executive Officer Jean-Paul Clozel said he isn’t interested in selling the Swiss drugmaker following a newspaper report that it spurned an advance from Shire Plc.

“I do not see a reason to sell a company when we are delivering such good results,” Clozel said in a phone interview Tuesday.

A profit measure known as core earnings will rise by a mid-to high-teen percentage in 2015, the Allschwil-based company said in a statement. In April, it predicted core earnings would increase by a low double-digit percentage.

Actelion’s shares are trading at record levels after the Sunday Times reported in June that the company rebuffed a $18.9 billion offer from Dublin-based Shire. The stock fell 0.8 percent at 11:41 a.m. in Zurich, paring the 12-month gain to 32 percent. Clozel declined on Tuesday to comment on the newspaper report.

Sales of Opsumit, Actelion’s new drug for a rare lung disease, continue to grow as the product replaces Tracleer, which generated three-quarters of the company’s revenue in 2014 but is losing patent protection. Another lung drug, Uptravi, has been submitted to U.S. regulators for approval.

Actelion said it will return 680 million Swiss francs ($707 million) to shareholders via share repurchases and dividends. Core earnings for the first half of the year were 423 million Swiss francs, less than the average analyst estimate of 434 million francs, as calculated by Bloomberg.

“Actelion is transforming from a risky ‘one product’ biotech into a more mature specialty pharma company,” Vincent Meunier, an analyst at Morgan Stanley, wrote in a July 7 note.

Core earnings include product sales minus some costs. The measure doesn’t include contract revenue or expenses such as depreciation or stock-based compensation. Actelion has said the figure more accurately reflects its underlying performance.

Second-quarter product sales totaled 493 million francs, led by Tracleer, which generated revenue of 301 million francs. Opsumit’s sales amounted to 113 million francs, surpassing analyst estimates of 109 million francs.

“In every country we have launched, we have fantastic results” for Opsumit, Clozel said. “We are a little bit surprised.”

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