(In third paragraph, corrects 2012 net profit to "up 25 percent
to 21.4 billion Danish crowns", from "up 23 percent to 5.80
* Q4 EBIT 7.57 bln DKK, vs 7.11 bln forecast
* Raises 2013 full-year guidance
* Says to launch new share buy-back of up to 14 bln DKK
* Shares rise 0.1 percent
By Mette Fraende
COPENHAGEN, Jan 31 The world's biggest insulin
producer Novo Nordisk raised sales and profit
forecasts for 2013 on hopes its new Tresiba drug will soon win
approval in the United States and add further momentum to
The Danish firm said on Thursday it expected 2013 sales
growth in local currencies of between 8 percent and 11 percent
and operating profit growth of around 10 percent. Its previous
guidance had been for single-digit growth in each.
It also posted 2012 net profit up 25 percent to 21.4 billion
Danish crowns ($3.9 billion), the highest in the company's
On Tresiba, chief executive Lars Rebien Sorensen said: "I
have the anticipation that this will be a multi-billion dollar
Tresiba has already been approved in Europe and Japan but
there had been concern about its future in the U.S. market after
regulators there said last November that its key component
degludec had a higher heart safety risk than other diabetes
However an advisory panel to the U.S. Food and Drug
Administration subsequently voted to recommend approval of
degludec, despite the signals of possible cardiovascular risk.
"For Tresiba, we have a good portion of sales included in
our guidance, but the largest part of that is from the United
States," Sorensen said.
"Whether we will be able to launch in the second quarter or
it is deferred to the third quarter has some implications on the
top line of the company," Sorensen said.
Any setback for Tresiba, would be good news for rival Sanofi
, whose Lantus product currently dominates the
long-acting insulin market and had 2011 sales of around $5
It could also be positive for Eli Lilly, which is
developing a rival drug that is a few years behind.
Novo Nordisk said fourth-quarter earnings before interest
and tax (EBIT) rose a quarter to 7.57 billion Danish crowns
($1.38 billion), compared with a forecast for 7.11 billion in a
"The fourth quarter was another blow-out result and growth
was extremely good," Alm Brand analyst Michael Jorgensen said.
The result was helped by a 29 percent rise in sales of
diabetes treatment Victoza to 2.71 billion crowns, against a
forecast for 2.85 billion, and a 20 percent increase in the sale
of modern, or synthetic, insulins, in line with expectations.
Novo Nordisk shares were down 0.1 percent at 0910 GMT,
tracking a 0.2 percent fall in Copenhagen's benchmark index
"It is a strong result from Novo Nordisk," said Sydbank
analyst Soren Hansen. "Expectation to the report were sky high
and I think they met those expectations."
Sales grew 16 percent to 20.96 billion crowns, slightly
above analysts' average 20.86 billion crowns estimate.
The group said it would initiate a new share buy-back
programme of up to 14 billion crowns and raised the dividend 29
percent to 18 crowns.
Earlier this week, rival Eli Lilly and Co reported a
fall in fourth-quarter profit as competition from generic drugs,
particularly for its once top-selling schizophrenia drug
Zyprexa, drove revenue lower.
($1 = 5.4980 Danish crowns)
($1 = 5.4980 Danish crowns)
(Additional reporting by Shida Chayesteh and Johan Ahlander;
Editing by Sophie Walker)