UPDATE 2-Shire boosts shares to record high with earnings upgrade

Thu Jul 25, 2013 10:52am EDT

Related Topics

* Lifts full-year earnings growth target to double digit

* Q2 earnings/ADS up 6 pct to $1.79 vs f'cast $1.66

* Revenue $1.27 billion, up 6 percent, vs f'cast $1.22 bln

* Shares up 5.1 percent, hit record high (Adds CEO comments, analyst reaction)

By Paul Sandle

LONDON, July 25 (Reuters) - British drugmaker Shire Plc raised its earnings outlook after product sales rebounded in the second quarter, marking the success of its efforts to reap profits from its specialist drug portfolio.

Its shares jumped to a record high and were up 5.1 percent at 2,330 pence by 1411 GMT on Thursday, topping the gainers list in the FTSE 100 blue-chip stock index.

"We are sharpening our focus on commercial execution," said Chief Executive Flemming Ornskov, noting the company's strategy was paying off in better sales for hyperactivity drugs Vyvanse and Intuniv, up to $300 million and $90 million respectively.

The results were also boosted by sales of Shire's Lialda treatment for ulcerative colitis, which generated sales of $138 million, up 46 percent, Ornskov added.

Having missed market sales forecasts in May, Shire has returned to higher growth and now expected earnings to increase by a double-digit rate in 2013.

It was also helped by its older Adderall XR hyperactivity product, which for the past year has faced generic competition but whose impact has not been as damaging as some expected. Sales fell 16 percent to $112.3 million against a forecast $88 million.

Shire posted earnings per American Depositary Share (ADS) of $1.79, on a non-GAAP basis, compared with the $1.66 forecast by analysts in a company-supplied poll.

Revenue of $1.27 billion was up 6 percent, beating the $1.22 billion the market expected.

DOUBLE DIGIT

"After a strong recent run-up in the shares, there was little scope for disappointment in these figures and they have not disappointed," analysts at Deutsche Bank said.

The change in guidance to "double digit growth" from it previous guidance of "in line with consensus", implied modest upgrades to forecasts, they said. Average estimates stand at $6.68, representing 10 percent growth.

As well as treatments for hyperactivity, London-listed Shire also focuses on drugs for treating rare diseases.

Ornskov, who took over in May, is reorganising Shire into five divisions - rare diseases, neuroscience, gastrointestinal, regenerative medicine and internal medicine - and scaling back early-stage research.

Analysts expect generic competition to crimp growth of Adderall XR for the next couple of years. Dermagraft, a treatment for diabetes-related ulcers, has also been disappointing to date.

But further out there are hopes for new products coming through the pipeline - notably Lifitegrast for dry eye - and Shire is expected to continue its strategy of making bolt-on acquisitions in key therapeutic areas.

Ornskov said the strength of group's pipeline - with nine products in late-stage Phase III trials and six in Phase II - meant it could be selective about acquisitions.

"In rare disease we think there's significant growth opportunities, so that's one area we are looking," he said. (Additional reporting by Ben Hirschler; Editing by Stephen Nisbet and David Holmes)

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