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Takeda maintains annual guidance despite first-quarter profit drop

·2 min read
People walk past the new headquarters of Takeda Pharmaceutical Co in Tokyo

TOKYO (Reuters) -Japan's biggest drugmaker Takeda Pharmaceutical Co reported a sharp drop in first-quarter profit on Thursday, reflecting one-off gains a year earlier, while maintaining annual earnings forecasts that are buoyed by the yen's decline.

Operating profit for April-June totalled 150.5 billion yen ($1.11 billion), the company said, compared with 249 billion yen a year earlier.

The company kept its forecast for full-year operating profit at 520 billion yen, up 13% from the previous period. That compares with a consensus forecast of 539 billion yen, according to a Refinitiv poll of 15 analysts.

In the first quarter of last fiscal year, Takeda benefited from a one-time gain of 131.4 billion yen when it sold off its diabetes assets to refocus on core businesses following its acquisition of Shire Plc.

The next major driver for Takeda's earnings and shares may be a decision by European regulators, expected later this year, on the company's experimental vaccine for Dengue fever.

The company has been a key player in Japan's COVID-19 vaccine strategy. It imported vaccines made by Moderna Inc and is domestically producing the shots developed by Novavax Inc, approved by Japanese regulators in April.

The Shire acquisition, completed in January 2019, expanded Takeda's drug pipeline and diversified its global sales, with about half now coming from the United States. Those U.S. earnings are now worth more when brought back to Japan, where the yen has depreciated to a 24-year low.

"If we apply the June-end FX rates to the rest of fiscal year 2022, for example 136 yen to the U.S. dollar, we would expect to see over 10 percentage points of incremental growth to our forecasts," Chief Financial Officer Costa Saroukos told analysts.

($1=135.3400 yen)

(Reporting by Rocky Swift;Editing by Shri Navaratnam, Clarence Fernandez and Susan Fenton)