GlaxoSmithKline reported earnings growth across all of its main units in 2017, but warned that generic copies of a major product could undermine its performance this year.
For the year ended December 31 revenues rose to £30.19bn from £27.89bn in 2016, while pre-tax profit improved to £3.53bn from £1.94bn. The improvement was helped by a sharp fall in operating expenses from £3.01bn to £1.61bn.
However, the drugs giant posted a loss in the fourth-quarter, compared to profit in Q4 2016, reflecting the impact of US tax reform together with an increased impact of charges arising from higher valuations of liabilities.
GSK said that its earnings performance for the year ahead would be influenced by the timing and impact of us generic competitors to its Advair asthma treatment drug.
Three new launches
“In 2017 GSK delivered encouraging results from across the company with sales growth in each of our three global businesses, an improved group operating margin, adjusted earnings per share growth of 4% at constant exchange rates and stronger free cash flow,” said CEO Emma Walmsley, who took over last March upon Sir Andrew Witty’s retirement.
“We are focused on competing effectively across our current portfolio and delivering three new launches which bring significant benefits to patients: Trelegy Ellipta which provides three medicines in a single inhaler to treat chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD); Juluca, the first 2-drug regimen, once-daily, single pill for HIV, helping to reduce the amount of medicines needed, and Shingrix, our new vaccine which represents a new standard for the prevention of shingles.