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Hikma guides for injectables growth after profit surge

(Reuters) - Hikma Pharmaceuticals Plc on Wednesday forecast growth in 2019 for its injectable drugs division, as strong demand along with a rebound in its generics business helped it post a 19 percent jump in full-year core operating profit.

However, the double-digit growth fell short of analysts' average expectations.

The company has been strengthening its injectable drugs unit - its largest - through new medicines. The division also received a boost last year when it took advantage of a shortage of opioid painkillers by beefing up production.

Hikma, which reported injectable drug core revenue of $832 million for 2018, expects revenue for the business to be between $850 million to $900 million in 2019.

The drugmaker reported core operating profit of $460 million for last year, below analysts' average expectation of $471 million, according to a company compiled consensus https://www.hikma.com/investors/analyst-coverage/analyst-estimates.

Core revenue rose 7 percent to $2.08 billion, but fell short of estimates of $2.1 billion.

(Reporting by Pushkala Aripaka in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D'Silva and Gopakumar Warrier)