Friday 14 December 2018

GlaxoSmithKline’s shares hit as sales dampened by strength of sterling

Currency movements offset a strong launch of Glaxo’s shingles vaccine Shingrix.

Sales of GSK's asthma drug could fall by 30% in the US this year (Fiona Hanson/PA)
Sales of GSK's asthma drug could fall by 30% in the US this year (Fiona Hanson/PA)

By Helen Cahill, Press Association City Reporter

Drug giant GlaxoSmithKline has seen its shares come under pressure after the firm’s sales were hit by the strength of the pound.

Sales fell by 2% in the first quarter to £7.2 billion, but were up by 4% with currency movements stripped out. Total operating profit fell 15% to £1.24 billion.

The drop in revenues prompted Glaxo’s shares to slide by 2.7%.

Glaxo warned investors that sales of a key respiratory drug in its portfolio would fall, and that the company could not predict how it would fare in the year ahead.

It said competitive pressures in the respiratory drug market meant sales of its asthma treatment Advair would fall by 30% in 2018.

The company’s earnings per share for the full year, which fell 33% in the quarter to 11.2p, would depend on Advair’s success.

We are strongly focused on commercial execution, with encouraging starts for our most recent new product launches Shingrix, Trelegy and Juluca Emma Walmsley, Glaxo chief executive

If no competing drug is marketed in the US, Glaxo’s earnings per share could grow by between 4% and 7%.

However, if a competitor enters the market, earnings per share could fall by 3%. The pharmaceutical giant said it was unable to give a reliable forecast for its future results.

Glaxo reported strong sales from the launch of Shingrix, a vaccine which prevents shingles.

Sales of the drug brought in £110 million, boosting the group’s total vaccine sales, which rose by 13% to £1.3 billion.

Emma Walmsley, chief executive of Glaxo, said the company had made “good progress” over the three-month period and that the firm continued to be disciplined about its costs.

“We are strongly focused on commercial execution, with encouraging starts for our most recent new product launches Shingrix, Trelegy and Juluca,” she said.

Press Association

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