The FINANCIAL — Sales within biopharmaceuticals declined by 18% to DKK 18.8 billion (16% in local currencies), reflecting the impact in the USA from the introduction of a generic version of the hormone replacement therapy product Vagifem and a rebate adjustment for growth hormone in Q1 2016.
Sales within haemophilia were broadly unchanged (2% growth in local currencies).
Sales within International Operations increased by 2% in Danish kroner (5% in local currencies) driven by sales growth in all business regions measured in local currencies. Sales within North America Operations decreased by 2% in Danish kroner and were unchanged in local currencies, reflecting the non-recurring effects in biopharmaceuticals impacting growth negatively by 4 percentage points.
Operating profit increased by 1% reported in Danish kroner and by 5% in local currencies to DKK 49.0 billion. Net profit increased by 1% to DKK 38.1 billion. Diluted earnings per share increased by 3% to DKK 15.39, according to Novo Nordisk.
In December, Novo Nordisk received the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval of Ozempic (semaglutide) for treatment of people with type 2 diabetes and a positive opinion from the Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP) under the European Medicines Agency (EMA) recommending marketing authorisation for Ozempic. Ozempic will to be launched in the USA next week.
Chairman of the Board of Directors Göran Ando has decided not to seek re-election at the Annual General Meeting in March 2018. The Board of Directors proposes current member of the Board of Directors Helge Lund to be elected as chairman of the Board of Directors.
As per 15 February 2018, Karsten Munk Knudsen, currently senior vice president of Corporate Finance, will succeed Jesper Brandgaard as chief financial officer. Jesper Brandgaard will continue as executive vice president responsible for Biopharm and Legal Affairs.
For 2018, sales growth is expected to be 2-5% measured in local currencies and operating profit growth is expected to be 1-5%. Sales growth reported in Danish kroner is expected to be 7 percentage points lower than in local currencies, reflecting the significant depreciation of the US dollar and related currencies versus the Danish krone. Likewise, reported operating profit growth is expected to be 10 percentage points lower.
At the Annual General Meeting on 22 March 2018, the Board of Directors will propose a final dividend of DKK 4.85 for 2017 per share of DKK 0.20. The expected total dividend for 2017 of DKK 7.85 per share, of which DKK 3.00 per share was paid as interim dividend in August 2017, corresponds to an increase of 3% compared to 2016. The Board of Directors furthermore intends to initiate a new 12-month share repurchase programme of up to DKK 14 billion.
Lars Fruergaard Jørgensen, president and CEO: “I am pleased that we delivered on our plans for 2017 and we are continuing to build a platform for sustainable growth. The approval of Ozempic® in the USA was the culmination of a year in which we achieved important product approvals and label updates. In 2018, we will focus on the global launch of Ozempic® and pursue the full value potential of our strong product portfolio in what continues to be a competitive environment.”