September 6, 2017 / 6:41 AM / 10 months ago

Drugmaker Vectura warns of destocking hit, shares slide

British drugmaker Vectura (VEC.L) reported a doubling in first-half losses and warned full-year revenues would be hit by customers running down stocks of asthma inhaler Flutiform, sending its shares as much as 14 percent lower on Wednesday.

The company, which bought rival SkyePharma for 441 million pounds in June 2016, said full-year revenues from product supplies and device sales were likely to be flat on a comparable basis with the previous year.

Peel Hunt analysts had forecast 22 percent growth.

“Although Vectura has undertaken to lower its R&D expense to compensate such that the net effect is ‘broadly neutral at earnings,’ we think the market may be disappointed by the implied negative change to 2017 earnings mix,” they wrote in a research note, keeping a “hold” rating on the stock.

Vectura said it would cut research and development (R&D) spending for 2017 to 60-70 million pounds from previous guidance of 65-75 million.

At 0925 GMT, its shares were down 11.6 percent at 96.45 pence, after hitting a four-year low of 93.55 pence.

The company said its loss before tax widened to 44.5 million pounds in the six months ended June 30, up from a loss of 22.4 million pounds in the same period last year, due to higher amortisation expenses related to the takeover deal.

Analysts had expected a loss of 37.7 million pounds, according to Thomson Reuters data.

Vectura has had a tough time since the SkyePharma deal, including a royalties row with GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), delays with Novartis launching its Ultibro inhaler in the United States and Flutiform failing a clinical study.

Its troubles have continued this year, when its hopes to launch the first U.S. generic copy of GSK’s best-selling Advair inhaler were hit after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration delayed approval of its version.

The company said on Wednesday it would be able to confirm the timetable for regulatory approval before the end of 2017.

Reporting by Justin George Varghese in Bengaluru, Ben Hirschler in London; Editing by Louise Heavens and Mark Potter

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