February 11, 2020 / 10:12 PM / 8 days ago

UPDATE 1-Australia's CSL posts 8% rise in H1 profit; raises FY outlook

(Adds details, background)

Feb 12 (Reuters) - Australian biotech company CSL Ltd posted an 8% rise in first-half earnings on Wednesday and raised its full-year profit forecast as it benefits from a move to distribute its own products in China.

CSL now expects after-tax net profit of between $2.11 billion and $2.17 billion at constant currency for the full year, from a previous estimate of $2.05 billion to $2.11 billion.

The Melbourne-based company is moving from a third-party distribution system to direct distribution in the domestic Chinese market, which analysts have predicted may be a step towards having its own domestic production in China.

CSL’s first-half profits were boosted by sales of its prime immunoglobulin drugs Privigen and Hizentra, which grew 28% and 37% respectively.

Immunoglobulin, also known as antibody, is a protein produced by plasma cells and other lymphocytes, extracted for the treatment of various immunological and neurological diseases.

However, CSL expects its unit Seqirus, which hosts the influenza vaccines portfolio, to post a loss in the second half of the year.

The company’s net profit rose to $1.25 billion in the six months ended Dec. 31, from $1.16 billion a year earlier.

The company also declared an interim dividend of $0.95 per share. (Reporting by Shreya Mariam Job and Nikhil Subba in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D’Silva and Shailesh Kuber)

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