Elan to post first profit for decade on back of strong MS drug sales
IRISH drug company Elan expects to post its first full-year operating profit in nearly a decade during 2010 and said that annual sales of its multiple sclerosis treatment Tysabri exceeded $1bn (€727m) for the first time in 2009.
Releasing full-year and fourth-quarter results yesterday, Elan posted a net loss of $176.2m in 2009 compared to a net loss of $71m a year earlier, while in the three months to the end of December the net loss was $57.7m compared to a net profit of $169.5m in the corresponding period in 2008.
However, the company's pre-tax net loss was more than halved last year to $129.8m from $297.3m, while its adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) jumped to $96.3m compared to just $4.3m in 2008.
Operating income, including a $108.7m net gain on the sale of Elan's Alzheimer's immunotherapy programme to a Johnson & Johnson subsidiary last year, rose to $31.9m in 2009.
Excluding the gain, Elan recorded a net loss of $9.5m. That compared to a net loss in 2008, before charges, of over $109m. Goodbody Stockbrokers analyst Ian Hunter is now predicting that Elan will generate an operating profit of $87.4m this year.
The results failed to spur investors, however, with trading in Elan shares remaining flat in Dublin throughout the day.
But Elan chief financial officer Shane Cooke said the company had met or exceeded all its financial guidance for 2009.
He added that Elan's revenue in 2010 will be ahead of the $1.1bn recorded in 2009, which was an 11pc rise on 2008.
However, he added that revenue growth rate would be behind the 20pc compounded annual growth rate recorded by the group in the past couple of years, but that the revenue growth trend would accelerate again in 2011.
Elan's top-selling drug is Tysabri, which it markets in conjunction with US-based Biogen Idec.
The pair also share revenues from the drug, which is currently being used by almost 49,000 patients around the world, 24,500 of them in the United States.
Mr Cooke also said that the drug is now profitable for Elan in both the US and the rest of the world. Elan's share of revenue from the drug within the US was $508.5m in 2009, a 21pc increase on 2008.
Ian Hunter of Goodbody described the results as "solid", even though quarterly revenue was lower than expectations.
Shares in Elan traded in low volume in Dublin yesterday and closed at €5.19, posting a gain of 5 cent.