LONDON, April 26 GlaxoSmithKline's new
chief executive reported slightly better than expected
first-quarter results on Wednesday, keeping the drugmaker on
track to hit financial targets in 2017 as it braces for generic
competition to blockbuster lung drug Advair.
Weak sterling in the wake of last year's Brexit vote helped
lift sales and adjusted earnings per share (EPS) 19 and 31
percent respectively to 7.38 billion pounds ($9.46 billion) and
Analysts, on average, had forecast sales of 7.26 billion
pounds and EPS of 24.5p, according to Thomson Reuters data.
Emma Walmsley, 47, who took over from outgoing CEO Andrew
Witty on April 1, said: "This is a positive start for the year
with sales growth in all three of our businesses and an
improvement in the group's operating margin."
Under Witty, GSK built up a diversified business, with its
core pharmaceuticals operation buttressed by large consumer
health and vaccine units.
Walmsley, who previously headed the consumer division after
17 years at L'Oreal, is expected to stick with the
diversified strategy. She will set out her detailed vision for
the company in three months time, alongside half-year results.
GSK last month won a short-term reprieve from the threat of
generic Advair when the U.S. Food and Drug Administration
delayed approval of Mylan's copy of the inhaler for
asthma and chronic lung disease.
But with another substitutable Advair generic from Hikma
potentially winning a green light by May 10, GSK
reiterated that generic Advair could still dent full-year
($1 = 0.7798 pounds)
(Reporting by Ben Hirschler; Editing by Martinne Geller)