UPDATE 1-Orion says new products to soften generics blow

Tue Feb 5, 2013 6:24am EST

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(Recasts with outlook, adds share move)

HELSINKI Feb 5 (Reuters) - Finnish drug maker Orion said sales of new products were helping to soften the blow of increasing generic competition for its Parkinson's drugs, forecasting stronger-than-expected sales for 2013.

Orion shares rose 8 percent after the company forecast full-year sales to be little changed from the 980 million euros ($1.33 billion) reported for 2012 while it forecast a slight fall in operating profit due to lower margins.

Analysts expected 2013 sales to fall to 957 million euros, according to a Reuters poll.

"The Parkinson's drugs sales will come down, but it seems they are controlling this shift better than expected," said Kimmo Stenvall from Pohjola Markets.

But he also warned that the market may be overreacting with the company likely to struggle with expiring patents over the next few years.

"These problems will remain in 2014 and 2015," Stenvall said.

Orion reported fourth-quarter operating profit of 59.4 million euros, below the market's average forecast of 63 million euros.

The shares rose 1.75 euros to 23.35 euros by 1123 GMT. ($1 = 0.7376 euros) (Reporting by Helsinki Newsroom)

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