November 3, 2009 / 7:11 AM / 10 years ago

UPDATE 2-Dutch Crucell hit by volatilty, Q3 profit falls

* Q3 net profit 10 mln euros vs 12 mln expected

* Reiterates full-year outlook

* Shares down 2.4 pct

(Adds company, analyst comments, shares, detail)

By Aaron Gray-Block

AMSTERDAM, Nov 3 (Reuters) - Dutch biotech company Crucell NV CRCL.AS CRXL.O was hit by delayed sales of its childhood vaccines and milestone payments, but reiterated its full-year revenue outlook despite reporting a disappointing net profit.

Net profit fell 22 percent to 10 million euros ($14.8 million), missing the average forecast of 12 million from a Reuters poll of four analysts. The company reported net profit of 12.8 million euros in the same period last year.

Crucell said in a conference call delayed sales of its childhood vaccines Quinvaxem again impacted its third-quarter results, as they did in the second quarter, but stressed it had no difficulty in forecasting annual sales.

The company therefore reiterated it expects its combined full-year 2009 total revenue and other operating income to grow 20 percent in constant currencies.

Shares in Crucell fell 2.4 percent to 13.155 euros by 0924 GMT, underperforming a 1.5 percent fall in the Amsterdam midcap index .AMX.

“Product sales were lower than expected mainly due to paediatric sales which came in at 38.5 million euros versus our expectation of 52.8 million,” SNS Securities analyst Ilja Zaanen said.

Crucell’s gross margin also shrank to 39 percent from 50 percent in the year-earlier period, hit by delayed milestone payments and currency effects.

COMPETITION OVERHANG

Sales excluding other operating income was 89.9 million euros, up 14.4 percent, but below the average estimate of 99 million from the Reuters poll.

Crucell’s earnings have been supported in recent years by strong sales growth of its paediatric vaccine Quinvaxem, which prevents five childhood illnesses, but is coming under increased pressure with the emergence of several Indian rivals.

“We expect competition concerns to be an overhang for the stock until we have greater visibility on incremental contracts,” Jeffries International analysts said, adding Crucell’s results showed it is not immune to volatility.

Once regarded as a takeover target, Crucell won a 302 million euros cash injection from U.S. firm Johnson & Johnson (JNJ.N) in September as part of a flu vaccine development deal.

The company provided no firm update on its strategy, but Chief Executive Ronald Brus told reporters the Johnson & Johnson deal would allow the company to spend a lot of money on R&D while remaining profitable and growing its product pipeline.

“We do not need the cash,” Brus added. “The money is not burning in our pocket. When (acquisition) opportiuntiies arise we will judge whether or not they fit our portfolio of combatting infectious diseases. There is no way we are going to rush it.” (Editing by David Holmes) ($1=.6769 Euro)

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