* Q1 EBIT 923 mln DKK vs forecast 819 mln
* Lifts full-year EBIT growth forecast to 8-10 pct
* Shares up over 4 percent
(Adds quotes from CFO, analyst, details, background)
By Teis Jensen
COPENHAGEN, April 24 Danish industrial enzymes
producer Novozymes reported a bigger-than-expected
rise in first-quarter operating profit, helped by a one-off
positive impact from its alliance with U.S. company Monsanto
and strong sales of ethanol enzymes.
The Monsanto alliance, which was formed in December and aims
to develop microbial products for agriculture, boosted the
operating margin by around 4 percent in the quarter to increase
it above 30 percent.
Earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) rose to 923 million
Danish crowns ($171 million) in the first quarter from 709
million crowns a year ago, above a forecast for 819 million
crowns in a Reuters poll.
The group raised its full-year outlook and now expects
operating profit to grow by 8 to 10 percent from an earlier 6 to
Novozymes' shares were over 4 percent higher in early trade.
The firm's sales of enzymes to the United States' bioethanol
sector grew by 29 percent to 514 million crowns even though the
sector's production of ethanol only grew around 11 percent.
"Our new enzyme products for the ethanol producers are doing
really well," chief financial officer Benny Loft told Reuters.
He said the products, which were launched during 2013,
helped ethanol producers to increase their production using the
same amount of corn and that was why producers had increased use
of Novozymes' products.
Analysts polled by Reuters had expected sales of bioenergy
ethanol of 488 million crowns in the quarter.
"Overall, it's a very good first quarter," analyst Morten
Imsgard from Sydbank said. "Novozymes demonstrates to the
investors that there is good growth in several of the major
business areas, especially the bioenergy division," he said.
Analyst Michael Friis Jorgensen from Alm. Brand Bank said
that both the sales of ethanol enzymes and the one-off boost
from the alliance with Monsanto were better than expected.
Sales of detergent enzymes, Novozymes largest business area,
grew by 7 percent to 1.08 million crowns, in line with analysts'
expectations, driven by a new large customer and increasing
sales in emerging markets.
Detergent producers add enzymes to the washing powder to
increase its performance, enable low-temperature washing and
replace traditional chemicals.
Novozymes' enzymes are also used in amongst other things
food, beer and animal feed. Its peers include Denmark's Chr.
Hansen, Dutch group DSM and Dupont
from the United States.
The expectation for total sales growth for 2014 was adjusted
to 4 to 6 percent from 4 to 7 percent in Danish crowns due to a
negative currency impact.
($1 = 5.3989 Danish Crowns)
(Additional reporting by Ole Mikkelsen, Stine Jacobsen and
Shida Chayesteh; Editing by Erica Billingham and Mark Potter)