April 30, 2009 / 8:37 AM / 10 years ago

Novo sees '09 gross margin up at least 1 pct pt -CFO

COPENHAGEN, April 30 (Reuters) - Novo Nordisk (NOVOb.CO) (NVO.N), the world’s biggest insulin maker, expects to rasie its gross margin by at least 1 percentage point this year from last year, its chief financial officer told Reuters on Thursday.

“Based on this first quarter we can say that it will be at least 100 basis points (up) in 2009,” said Novo Chief Financial Officer Jesper Brandgaard.

The Danish firm earlier on Thursday posted a bigger-than-expeced first-quarter profit rise on the back of higher modern insulins sales and gross margins.

It said the gross margin rose 2.6 percentage points to 79.9 percent in the quarter mainly due to continued productivity improvements and a positive currency impact of around 1 percentage point.

Brandgaard also said Novo hopes to meet with the U.S. Food and Drug Admininstration on its key new diabetes drug Victoza in May.

“It is our expectation that we will have a meeting in the coming month,” Brandgaard said.

Earlier this month, a U.S. advisory panel cast doubt on its safety, and now the final decision on approval rests with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Reporting by Karin Jensen

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