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Obesity treatments cause profits to balloon at Novo Nordisk

(Sharecast News) - Denmark's Novo Nordisk reported better-than-expected sales and earnings on Wednesday, on the back of surging demand for blockbuster weight-loss treatment Wegovy. The pharmaceutical firm reported net sales of Danish krone 232.3bn (£26.6bn) for the year to 31 December, an increase of 31%, or 36% on a constant currency basis.

Operating profits climbed 37% to DKK102.6bn, while net profits swelled 51% to DKK83.7bn.

In the fourth quarter, profits jumped 62% to DKK22bn and sales by 37% to DKK65.9, comfortably ahead of analyst expectations.

The strong performance was driven by bumper sales of diabetes and obesity treatments, in particular Ozempic and Wegovy.

Sales of Wegovy rocketed 407% to DKK31.3bn following successful launches of the treatment in the US, UK, much of northern Europe and the United Arab Emirates.

In the US, sales rose 380% following the commercial relaunch in January 2023, with demand continuing to outstrip supply.

Global sales of Ozempic, which is used to treat Type 2 diabetes, rose 60% to DKK 95.7bn.

In contrast, rare disease sales decreased by 16% to DKK17.2bn, as manufacturing output was reduced.

Lars Fruergaard Jorgensen, chief executive, said: "We are very pleased with the strong performance in 2023, reflecting that more than 40m people are now benefiting from our innovative diabetes and obesity treatments.

"Our focus in 2024 will be on reaching more patients, progressing and expanding our pipeline as well as the continued significant expansion of our production capacity."

The firm acknowledged that sales growth would slow in the current year, to between 18% and 26% on a constant exchange rate basis, on the back of stiffer competition and production bottlenecks.

Operating profits were forecast to rise by between 21% and 29%.

As at 0915 GMT, shares in the Copenhagen-listed firm were up 2%.

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Important information: This information is not a personal recommendation for any particular investment. If you are unsure about the suitability of an investment you should speak to one of Fidelity’s advisers or an authorised financial adviser of your choice. When you are thinking about investing in shares, it’s generally a good idea to consider holding them alongside other investments in a diversified portfolio of assets. Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future returns.

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