UPDATE 2-Strong doxycycline sales boost Hikma revenue forecast
* Sees 2013 revenue growth of 20 pct
* First-half profit up 93 pct
* First-half revenue up 20 pct
By Abhirup Roy
Aug 21 (Reuters) - Hikma Pharmaceuticals raised its full-year revenue forecast for the third time in four months, riding on strong sales of generic antibiotic doxycycline, a drug used to prevent and treat malaria and other infections.
The company, which makes and sells branded and generic drugs, said it expected total revenue to rise 20 percent in 2013, up from its previous forecast of 17 percent.
There is a shortage of doxycycline in the United States due to manufacturing issues, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The regulator said demand for the drug has increased due to shortage of substitute drugs. ()
Hikma has been benefiting from the shortage as generic drugmakers are forced to cut capacity in the face of stringent regulatory scrutiny.
"I think you would be seeing many product price increases because the cost of what the FDA is asking for is quite expensive ... and I hope Hikma will be there to benefit from that," Chief Executive Said Darwazah told Reuters.
Strong doxycycline sales prompted Hikma to raise its full-year revenue growth forecast to 17 percent last month, up from 13 percent.
"While 2014 will likely suffer from tough year-on-year comps, the one-time doxycycline boost this year helps solidify the balance sheet and supports business," Citi analyst Joanne Jerman said in a note.
The company, which was founded in Amman in 1978, said revenue from its Egyptian business grew 14 percent and that it was confident in managing the business despite the political turmoil in the country.
"As of now we haven't seen and we don't predict any supply disruptions from Hikma," Darwazah said, adding that the company's Egypt unit has changed their work hours around the curfew.
Egypt is enduring the worst internal strife in its modern history, with about 900 people killed, including 100 police and soldiers, after security forces broke up protest camps by ousted Islamist President Mohamed Mursi's supporters in the capital on Aug. 14.
Hikma gets nearly half its revenue from the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.
FIRST-HALF NUMBERS JUMP
Profit before tax nearly doubled to $111.6 million in the six months ended June 30, from $57.8 million a year earlier. On an adjusted basis, Hikma's pretax profit jumped 158 percent.
Revenue increased 20 percent to $638.3 million, boosted by a 137 percent revenue growth in its generics business.
Generics revenue was $132.0 million, up from $55.8 million in the first half of 2012.
Revenue at Hikma's global injectables business rose 9.5 percent, while revenue from its branded division grew 3.2 percent in the first half.
The company, which listed on the London Stock Exchange in 2005, raised its interim dividend to 7 cents per share, up from 6 cents a year earlier. It also said it would pay a special dividend of 3 cents.
Hikma shares were trading up 2.8 percent at 1121 pence at 1048 GMT on Wednesday on the London Stock Exchange. The stock has risen 43 percent since the start of the year.
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