CSL hurt by high expectations

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High expectations do not always help and that is certainly the case for CSL.

The company reported its full year 2017 results yesterday, announcing a 15 per cent increase in revenue to $6.923 billion, with net profit after tax of $1.337 billion.

Highlights included a 16 per cent jump in immunoglobulin sales, including strong demand for IDELVION in its first full year of availability.

IDELVION is a long-acting factor IX therapy approved in Australia for use in patients with haemophilia B.

The company's flu business, under the Seqirus banner, reported a 23 per cent increase in sales reflecting transition to quadrivalent products and what it described as an increase in pandemic reservation fees.

“CSL’s 2017 results were exceptional. Our strong year reflects the successful execution of our strategy,” said CSL CEO and managing director Paul Perreault. “We delivered on our promise to provide innovative medicines to patients with rare and serious diseases in more than 60 countries. As a result, our business performance again created significant value for shareholders and other stakeholders.”

Yet shareholders, accustomed to high expectations, marked the company down with its share price closing down 1.5 per cent.

“CSL Behring’s strong performance included achieving two milestones which were particularly significant: the FDA approval of HAEGARDA and the continued expansion of our next generation recombinant coagulations therapies, especially IDELVION,” said Mr Perreault. “HAEGARDA, which treats Hereditary Angioedema (HAE), is a transformational therapy for patients. HAEGARDA provides 95% reduction in oedema attacks, reduces the need for rescue medication and is the first and only subcutaneous formulation. Another area of strong growth isIDELVION (rFIX-FP). In its first full year, IDELVION has become the new standard of care for patients with Haemophilia B, given its unsurpassed profile and significant patient benefits. Feedback and product adoption from both patients and physicians have been extremely positive.”

He continued, “We also continued to expand our plasma collection network. With nearly 180 centres in the US and Europe, CSL is uniquely positioned to leverage our network to drive future growth. We intend to open 25-30 centres over the next year, a level of expansion which is unmatched in the industry.

“Seqirus continued to make steady progress, including securing multiple new product licences and executing a number of initiatives designed to position the business for profitability and growth,” added Mr Perreault.

The company said it expects net profit after tax in 2018 in the range of $1.480 billion to $1.550 billion, at constant currency, up from $1.337 billion.

“We expect solid ongoing demand for CSL Behring biotherapies and strong market acceptance of our newly approved specialty product HAEGARDA,” said Mr Perreault.

“The haemophilia market continues to evolve. Our new generation products, IDELVION (rFIX-FP) and AFSTYLA (rFVIII-SC) are well placed and expected to more than offset the anticipated decline in earnings contribution from HELIXATE, as our supply contract ends this calendar year.”