Ozempic maker Novo Nordisk reports 62% surge in profit



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Novo Nordisk on Wednesday said its fourth-quarter profit surged by nearly two-thirds, driven by the popularity of its weight-loss drugs that have made it Europe’s largest company.

Novo Nordisk
NVO,

said its profit rose 62% to 21.96 billion kroner ($3.19 billion), as sales climbed 37% to 65.86 billion kroner. Its operating profit came in 5% ahead of a company-compiled consensus, while sales were 4% ahead of estimates.

Novo Nordisk shares
NOVO.B,
+1.44%
rose 2% in early Copenhagen trade, and the stock has soared 62% over the last 52 weeks.

Growth was driven by what’s called the GLP-1 class of drugs, as its obesity care sales more than doubled, rising 105%, after its diabetes care drugs that can also be used for weight loss saw a 33% rise.

Ozempic, which is used to treat type 2 diabetes, saw fourth-quarter sales of 30.07 billion kroner. Wegovy, which is prescribed for weight loss and weight management, recorded sales of 9.61 billion kroner.

Novo Nordisk and Eli Lilly
LLY,
-0.00%
are expected to dominate the GLP-1 market, which could rise to be worth $100 billion per year, for decades to come. Analysts at Citi estimate Novo Nordisk alone may see peak sales of $77 billion from the class of drugs.

Novo Nordisk’s biggest issue continues to be supply. It said in January it had started to gradually increase the supply of lower-dose strengths of Wegovy in the U.S., and it was going to gradually roll out Wegovy, with capped volumes, internationally.

Novo Nordisk said it’s expecting sales growth in 2024 between 18% and 26% at constant exchange rates, and operating profit growth between 21% and 29% at constant exchange rates. The currency translation is expected to drag on sales by 1 percentage point and profit growth by 2%. Analysts at JPMorgan say the guidance implies that Wall Street estimates for earnings this year will have to rise by as much as 4%.

Novo Nordisk said it’s starting a new stock buyback plan of up to 20 billion kroner, and proposed a final dividend of 6.40 kroner per share.



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