Higher revenues from HIV drugs and flu vaccines have boosted quarterly sales and earnings at GlaxoSmithKline, more than offsetting a continued fall in sales for respiratory treatments.
Sales rose by 9% to £6.13bn in the three months to the end of September, the third quarter of the company’s financial year. Analysts’ average forecasts were for sales of £6.08bn.
Britain’s biggest pharmaceutical company reported core earnings down by 18% to 23p a share, but higher than the 19.3p predicted by analysts.
The results are for the second full quarter since GSK sold its cancer business to Novartis, bought the Swiss company’s vaccines division and formed a consumer health joint venture. The deals left GSK with three big divisions: pharmaceuticals, consumer healthcare and vaccines.
In pharmaceuticals, sales rose 1% as new products more than made up for a £182m fall in sales of GSK’s top product, the asthma treatment Seretide, which now faces generic competition.
The company said the standout performance was the 65% increase in sales of its HIV drugs, which GSK held on to in May after ditching plans to spin off the business.
GSK shares rose almost 4% to £14.18 and were the biggest gainers in the FTSE 100 index.
Sir Andrew Witty, GSK’s chief executive, has been under pressure to improve performance and demonstrate that the company has revenue sources to make up for the loss of exclusive rights to make Seretide.
He said: “The benefits of the recent three-part transaction are becoming evident in our sales and earnings performance, and we have made good progress on our restructuring and integration programmes during the quarter.
“We remain focused on delivering sustained improvements in operational performance and are confident in our outlook for the rest of this year and a return to earnings growth in 2016.”
Witty said GSK would unveil vaccines and drugs at an investor presentation next week that would underscore the group’s long-term growth potential.