Novo Nordisk lifts 2022 outlook after strong quarter, shares jump

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The logo of Danish multinational pharmaceutical company Novo Nordisk is pictured on the facade of a production plant in Chartres
The logo of Danish multinational pharmaceutical company Novo Nordisk is pictured on the facade of a production plant in Chartres, north-central France, April 21, 2016. REUTERS/Guillaume Souvant/Pool
  • Q1 operating profit 19 bln DKK vs forecast 17.2 bln
  • Raises full-year sales and operating profit forecasts
  • Ozempic sales jump 70% in Q1; Novo shares up 4%

COPENHAGEN, April 29 (Reuters) - Shares in Novo Nordisk (NOVOb.CO) jumped on Friday after the firm lifted its 2022 sales and operating profit guidance on the back of forecast-beating first-quarter earnings, driven by strong sales of its newer diabetes and obesity treatments.

Novo Nordisk now expects sales growth of 10-14% in local currencies, up from a previous estimate of 6-10%. It sees operating profit up 9-13%, versus an earlier forecast of 4-8%.

"Insanely strong start to the year by Novo Nordisk and a significant upward adjustment," Jyske Bank analyst Henrik Laustsen said in a note.

Shares in Novo rose 6.5% at market open and were up 4% at 1015 GMT.

"We are very pleased with the sales growth in the first three months of 2022 which is driven by increasing demand for our GLP-1-based treatments," CEO Lars Jorgensen said in a statement, referring to Novo's newer diabetes and obesity drugs.

First-quarter operating profit came in at 19 billion Danish crowns ($2.69 billion), above the 17.2 billion crowns estimated by analysts, Refinitiv data showed.

Novo also said a contract manufacturer filling syringes for its promising Wegovy obesity drug had resumed commercial production, paving the way for Novo to make the drug fully available in the United States during the second half of 2022.

The manufacturer had temporarily halted deliveries and manufacturing in December after issues relating to good manufacturing practice.

High volume growth of Novo's GLP-1-based products, including key diabetes drug Ozempic, could lead to periodic supply constraints, which was reflected in the new outlook, Novo said.

"We have seen some (supply issues), but none of them something that is material to Novo Nordisk," Jorgensen told journalists on a media call.

Ozempic sales leapt 70% in local currencies in the first quarter to reach 12 billion crowns.

Novo will also expand its share repurchase programme by 2 billion Danish crowns to a total of 24 billion, it said.

($1 = 7.0576 Danish crowns)

Reporting by Stine Jacobsen and Nikolaj Skydsgaard Editing by David Goodman and Mark Potter

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