* FY net profit 303 mln Swiss francs, in line with poll
* 2012 Tracleer sales down 4 pct to 1.5 bln francs
* Sees flat core earnings in 2013
* Lifts dividend 25 pct to 1.00 franc
* Shares up 1.7 pct
(Adds CFO comment, shares, analyst)
By Caroline Copley
ZURICH, Feb 14 Switzerland's Actelion Ltd
has raised its dividend by a quarter, giving a
positive signal on prospects as it awaits a U.S. regulatory
decision on a new drug it hopes will cut its dependency on
Europe's largest biotech company has seen its outlook
brighten over the past year after heart and lung drug Opsumit,
its replacement treatment for top-seller Tracleer, beat
expectations in a clinical trial, giving a much-needed boost to
its drug pipeline.
Yet investors still have to wait until October to see
whether U.S. regulators will approve the drug, enabling Actelion
to cut its dependence on Tracleer, which makes up around 90
percent of sales.
Chief Financial Officer Andrew Oakley said he expected
Actelion will be able to launch Opsumit on the U.S. market this
year, but the company declined to give details on
Actelion, founded by Chief Executive Jean-Paul Clozel in
1997, is cutting costs and focusing its research on its
pulmonary arterial hypertension business as it looks to secure
growth once Tracleer goes off patent in 2015.
Analysts at brokerage Jefferies said its 25 percent dividend
hike to 1.00 franc was "impressive" and its commitment to share
buybacks and cost savings showed the group aimed to improve
Shares in Actelion, which trade at 14.3 times estimated 2013
earnings compared with a peer average of 14.7 times, were up 1.7
percent at 46.24 francs by 0813 GMT.
The group posted a full-year net profit of 303 million Swiss
francs ($330 million), compared with a forecast for 303 million
in a Reuters poll. It made a 146 million francs loss in
Full-year Tracleer sales fell 4 percent to 1.5 billion
francs. The company has raised prices to try and offset
competition from U.S. rival Gilead's Letairis.
Actelion said sales erosion from the first generic versions
of Tracleer in Canada has been slower than expected.
It said it expected to maintain core earnings at the same
level as 2012. It is banking on Opsumit to help core earnings
start growing again from 2014 and has forecast double-digit
percentage growth in 2015.
($1 = 0.9193 Swiss franc)
(Editing by Dan Lalor and David Holmes)