February 22, 2018 / 8:11 AM / 3 months ago

UPDATE 1-‍Sobi Q4 tops forecast but 2018 outlook below market expectations​

(Adds details, background, shares)

Feb 22 (Reuters) - Rare-disease drug maker Swedish Orphan Biovitrum (Sobi) reported on Thursday a bigger fourth-quarter profit jump than expected but guided for slightly slower profit growth in 2018 than estimated by analysts.

* Sobi makes haemophilia, inflammation and genetic and metabolic disease drugs, with roughly half of sales in Europe

* Q4 operating profit before amortisation (EBITA) up 195 pct yr/yr to 619 mln SEK ($76.1 mln) vs Reuters’ analyst poll mean forecast of 565 mln, helped by strong growth across the portfolio, for new haemophilia drugs in particular

* In the full year, EBITA and sales landed just above Sobi’s forecast range

* “Our Haemophilia franchise continued to grow rapidly and our strong quarter-on-quarter growth shows that we delivered consistently on our launch strategy for Elocta and Alprolix,” said Guido Oelkers, who joined Sobi as new CEO in May last year

* Q4 sales of key haemophilia drugs Elocta and Alprolix, which are partly sold by partner Bioverativ, were 540 mln and 131 mln SEK, respectively, above forecast

* Sobi gave a full-year 2018 outlook for EBITA of 2.50-2.70 bln SEK on sales of 7.50-7.70 bln, with a ‍gross margin of at least 70 pct. Analysts’ mean forecasts ahead of the news were for FY 2018 EBITA of 2.83 bln and sales of ​7.90 bln

* Sobi shares drop 1.6 pct in early trading on Thursday, underperforming the wider Stockholm market

* Shares in Sobi, whose rivals include Roche, Novo Nordisk and Shire, were up 17 pct YTD at Wednesday’s close

* Most of the YTD gain for the stock came on Jan. 22, after French healthcare group Sanofi said ith had agreed to buy Bioverativ for $11.6 bln

Source text for Eikon: Further company coverage: ($1 = 8.1355 Swedish crowns) (Reporting By Anna Ringstrom; editing by Johannes Hellstrom)

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