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Hikma impresses the City with raised forecasts for 2018

Iain Withers
Pills at a Hikma Pharmaceuticals facility in Amman, Jordan - REUTERS/Ali Jarekji/Files

Hikma Pharmaceuticals has impressed the City by raising guidance for both earnings and sales this year, sending its shares up 8pc.

The FTSE 250 company posted strong results for the first six months of the year, with operating profits up more than half (54pc) to $174m (£137m), up from $113m the previous year. Sales were up 11pc to $989m.

Better than expected trading in its core injectable medicine and generics divisions also prompted it to raise its financial guidance for the full year.

The copycat drugmaker said it was selling more injectable opioids such as fentanyl and morphine due to a wider supply shortage of the medicines in the US.

Meanwhile it said the generic drugs business was performing better than expected, with prices proving resilient despite intense pressure from US politicians including President Donald Trump to drive drug costs down.

Markets Hub - Hikma Pharmaceuticals PLC

Brian White, analyst at Cantor Fitzgerald, commented that Hikma was “moving in the right direction”, with its injectables business proving “the jewel in the crown”.

Jordan-based Hikma is listed in London and sells medicines in more than 50 countries.

It is pinning its longer term expansion hopes on winning US approval for a generic inhaler to rival GSK’s top-selling asthma drug Advair.

Hikma said it hoped to resubmit clinical data to US regulators “as early as possible in 2019” after its medicine was knocked back last year.

GSK also enjoyed a boost after it revealed its monthly injection combining two drugs for HIV proved as effective as the standard regimen of three pills taken daily after 48 weeks of a clinical trial.

The drugmaker’s shares were up almost 1.6pc in afternoon trading.