Reuters – Jordan’s Hikma Pharmaceuticals Plc said it expects a 23% growth in full-year revenue, up from its prior forecast of about 20%, benefiting from a strong performance in its injectables and generics businesses towards the end of 2013.
The London-listed company, which has grown over the past year on the back of a shortage of doxycycline in the United States, also raised its full-year generics revenue forecast to $270m, as sales of the antibiotic continued to rise.
Shares in Hikma rose as much as 6.7% in early trade, making the stock the biggest percentage gainer on the FTSE-250 Midcap index.
The drug-maker has already raised its 2013 revenue forecast three times and said in November that it expected revenue from its generics unit to be about $260m.
The US Food and Drug Administration had said that there was a scarcity of doxycycline in the United States due to domestic manufacturing issues, adding that an acute shortage of substitutes was driving demand for the antibiotic.
Doxycyline is used to treat bacterial infections such as urinary tract infections, acne, gonorrhea, and chlamydia as well as the tick-borne illness Lyme disease. The drug is also used to prevent malaria.
The antibiotic was taken off the shortage list last October with no supply issues anticipated, according to the US FDA website.
Hikma said that it expects revenue from its generics business to be lower in 2014 due to increased competition in the US doxycycline market.
“A key issue is how long the doxycycline opportunity will last and how Hikma intends to guide the market in 2014, but we expect strong underlying growth,” Jefferies analyst James Vane-Tempest wrote in a note.
He added that an increase in pricing pressure in doxycycline would erode the company’s current supernormal profitability.
The company, which was founded in Amman in 1978, said its global injectables business performed well, with revenue growth of about 14%.
“We are confident that our injectables business will continue to deliver strong revenue growth and an adjusted operating margin above 30% in 2014,” the company said in a statement.
Hikma’s pretax profit nearly doubled to $111.6m in the first-half. Revenue increased 20% to $638.3m, boosted by a 137% revenue growth in the generics business.
The company said earlier this week that Chief Executive Said Darwazah would also be appointed chairman, succeeding his father Samih Darwazah.
Hikma shares were trading up 6% at 1320 at 0921 GMT on Friday on the London Stock Exchange. The stock has nearly doubled in value over the past year.