February 14, 2018 / 1:06 AM / 10 months ago

UPDATE 1-Australia's CSL lifts outlook after H1 profit jump; stock at record high

(Adds background, analyst and CEO comment)

By Sumeet Gaikwad

Feb 14 (Reuters) - Biotherapeutics company CSL Ltd reported a 35 percent rise in its first-half profit on Wednesday due to robust demand for its vaccines in the United States, and upgraded its earnings guidance for the fiscal year.

Its stock surged as much as 6 percent to hit a record high after the results.

Net profit after tax was $1.1 billion, the company said, compared with $805.5 million a year ago.

CSL also upgraded its fiscal 2018 earnings guidance to about $1.55 billion-$1.60 billion from an earlier forecast of $1.48 billion-$1.55 billion.

“It looks like there is a relatively early severe flu season in the U.S. and that is going to drive sales for them,” said James McGlew, executive director of corporate stockbroking at Argonaut.

Sales of the company’s Seqirus division grew 26 percent at constant currency rates, largely driven by increased sales of seasonal influenza vaccines.

Revenue from the company’s primary Behring division grew 8 percent with sales of immunoglobin products rising in the period as some competitors experienced supply constraints.

“An uneven profit profile for CSL is expected for the first and second half results, due to the seasonality of the influenza business and the timing of expenses – particularly research and development,” CEO Paul Perreault said in a statement. (Reporting by Sumeet Gaikwad in Bengaluru; Editing by Paul Tait and Edwina Gibbs)

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