UPDATE 1-Richter net profit rises on exports, currency
* Q2 net profit up by a third, just below expectations
* Company affirms full-year revenue, profit guidance
* Credit Suisse starts Richter with "outperform" rating (Adds CEO, analyst comments, updates share price)
BUDAPEST, Aug 2 (Reuters) - Hungarian drug maker Richter reported a 33.7 percent rise in second-quarter net profit, helped by growing exports and currency effects, and stuck to its full-year targets for profit and revenue.
Richter expects 2012 revenues to come in steady versus 1.1 billion euros reported last year and has forecast operating profit margin at 15-16 percent, down from 20.2 percent last year due to higher research and sales spending.
"This 15-16 percent will remain our expectation and we are also sticking to our revenue forecast," Chief Executive Erik Bogsch told a news conference.
Richter said quarterly net profit rose by a third as higher revenues offset an increase in research and sales expenditure, while its financial loss also narrowed sharply from a year ago.
Net profit for the three-month period came in at 11.37 billion Hungarian forints, up from 8.5 billion in the same period a year earlier but slightly below analyst forecasts for 11.93 billion in a poll by financial news website portfolio.hu.
Richter's revenues rose by 11.9 percent to 84 billion forints due to stronger exports. The company's top line received an additional boost from the weakness of the Hungarian forint , while its domestic market continued to struggle.
Bogsch said the company still expected revenues from Hungary, which now accounts for just a tenth of its sales, to fall by 15-20 percent this year due to regulatory and tax changes as the government tries to rein in drug spending.
"Despite the better-than-expected revenue figures, we do not modify our full-year profit forecast," said analyst Attila Vago at Concorde.
"We believe that sales dynamics will moderate in the second half as a result of continued domestic price cuts and an expected slowdown in high-margin (CIS, U.S.) markets," he said.
Research and development costs jumped by 27 percent to 10.39 billion forints in the three-month period, lifted by clinical trials of a new antipsychotic medicine, Cariprazine, developed with U.S. partner Forest Laboratories Inc.
Bogsch said if Forest could file a registration request for Cariprazine in the fourth quarter, Richter would be entitled to an unspecified amount in milestone payment.
Operating profit came in at 13.13 billion forints, broadly in line with the same period a year ago, but above market expectations for 12.72 billion in a survey of analysts.
At 0855 GMT, Richter shares were trading 1 percent lower at 38,935 forints on the Budapest Stock Exchange, off daily lows after Credit Suisse started the company's shares with an "outperform" recommendation. (Reporting by Gergely Szakacs; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman and Helen Massy-Beresford)
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