Danish drug maker Novo Nordisk posts 2Q profit rise, helped by insulin sales

Denmark’s Novo Nordisk posts rise in 2Q profits

COPENHAGEN — Danish drug maker Novo Nordisk A/S on Thursday said second-quarter net profit rose by 21 percent, aided by a surge in insulin sales in North America.

The world’s top supplier of insulin said net profit in April through June reached almost 3 billion kroner ($580 million), up from about 2.5 billion kroner in the same period in 2008. Sales increased to 13 billion kroner from 11.1 billion kroner.

The Copenhagen-based company, predicting further sales growth and having reported a 24 percent growth in first-quarter net profit, upgraded its operating profit forecast for 2009 from 10 percent to between 12 and 14 percent.

“The performance in the first half of 2009 is encouraging and we raise our guidance for underlying operating profit growth,” CEO Lars Rebien Soerensen said.

Sales in North America rose by 34 percent for the first half of the year.

Novo Nordisk shares slipped 1.9 percent to 312 kroner ($60) in afternoon trading in Copenhagen.

Sydbank analyst Rune Dahl said the results are “very good” in relation to earnings and market growth, but “not optimum” for their lack of information on the U.S. regulation process for the new diabetes drug Victoza.

“There is absolutely no information about the FDA’s approval for Victoza”, he said.

He said that Novo Nordisk’s insulin sales were sufficient to withstand any fallout from the recession. “Insulin is currently probably the highest growth market in all of medicine. The recession has had no impact at all on their results”.

Novo Nordisk employs 28,000 people in 81 countries.

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