March 14, 2018 / 12:36 PM / 9 months ago

Drugmaker Hikma's FY profit, revenue meet expectations; shares rise

(Reuters) - Hikma Pharmaceuticals Plc (HIK.L) reported full-year profit and revenue largely in line with expectations, aided by strong performance in the second half of the year.

The company has struggled due to persistent price pressures in the U.S. market and was forced to cut revenue guidance for its generics business thrice in 2017.

Hikma’s problems were further compounded by a delay in the launch of its generic version of GlaxoSmithKline’s (GSK.L) blockbuster lung drug Advair. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Monday asked Hikma to conduct a further clinical study evaluating the drug.

Hikma posted 2017 generics revenue of $615 million, surpassing its expectation of about $600 million.

The company, which named former Teva Pharmaceutical (TEVA.TA) generics head Sigurdur Olafsson as its CEO in a bid to improve the business, forecast revenue from generics in 2018 to be in the range of $550 million to $600 million.

“We see these results as reassuring in the context of poor market sentiment and multiple headwinds to the business and would expect a positive reaction,” Morgan Stanley analysts wrote in a note.

Hikma shares rose as much as 10.7 percent in early trading.

The Jordan-based drugmaker said earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) fell 5 percent to $468 million for the year ended Dec. 31, but was largely in line with analysts’ estimate of $469.9 million, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Revenue fell marginally to $1.94 billion, also keeping with estimates.

Reporting By Justin George Varghese in Bengaluru; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty and Sunil Nair

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