February 7, 2018 / 12:14 PM / a year ago

GSK cautious on 2018 as drug competition looms after Q4 beats

LONDON, Feb 7 (Reuters) - GlaxoSmithKline said on Wednesday its earnings could slip this year as the drugmaker faces increased competition in its core respiratory and HIV businesses.

After growing adjusted earnings per share (EPS) 4 percent in 2017, at constant exchange rates, GSK sees them flat to down 3 percent in 2018, if generic copies of its Advair inhaler launch in the U.S market by mid-year as many analysts expect.

Still, the company is "increasingly confident" it will be able to deliver mid to high single digit earnings growth over the 2016 to 2020 period.

GSK reported fourth-quarter adjusted EPS of 27.2 pence on sales of 7.64 billion pounds. Analysts, on average, had forecast 26.0p and 7.49 billion pounds, according to Thomson Reuters data. (Reporting by Ben Hirschler; editing by Tom Bergin)

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