Novo Nordisk’s profit exceeds expectations as inventory increases sales

COPENHAGEN (Reuters) – Denmark’s Novo Nordisk posted a better-than-expected quarterly result on Wednesday and maintained its full-year outlook as customers who stocked up during the coronavirus pandemic increased sales of their diabetes medication.

Novo Nordisk, along with U.S. rival Eli Lilly and other major pharmaceutical companies, have maintained or even raised full-year forecasts as barriers to combat the spread of the virus have resulted in medication and other essentials.

“Revenue growth was impacted by COVID-19-related inventory, as increased prescribing trends in patient prescriptions and inventory from wholesalers, particularly in the United States and EMEA, were noted in March 2020,” said a statement from the world’s leading manufacturer of Diabetes medication.

Revenue increased 16% to DKK 33.9 billion ($ 4.92 billion) in the first quarter, exceeding the analysts’ forecast of CZK 31.5 billion. Adjusted for COVID-19 related inventory, however, growth would have been 7%, Novo said.

The operating profit was 16.3 billion crowns, compared to an average of 14.2 billion crowns expected by analysts.

The company continues to expect sales to grow between 3% and 6% this year and operating income to increase 1% to 5% measured in local currencies despite the uncertainty surrounding the outbreak.

“The current COVID-19 pandemic is creating uncertainty about patient flow and social impacts, such as the US unemployment rate, which affects health insurance coverage,” he said.

(Reporting by Stine Jacobsen; editing by Subhranshu Sahu)

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