Operating profit increased by 6% measured in local currencies when adjusted for the cost of severance and the priority review voucher for oral semaglutide

Sales remained broadly unchanged in Danish kroner and increased by 5% in local currencies to DKK 111.8 billion.

  • Sales of Victoza® increased by 5% to DKK 24.3 billion (9% in local currencies).
  • Sales of Ozempic® were DKK 1,796 million and total GLP-1 sales increased by 13% (18% in local currencies).
  • Sales of Saxenda® increased by 51% to DKK 3.9 billion (60% in local currencies).
  • Sales of Tresiba® increased by 10% to DKK 8.0 billion (15% in local currencies).
  • Sales in International Operations increased by 2% (7% in local currencies).
  • Sales in North America Operations decreased by 2% (increased 3% in local currencies).
  • Sales within diabetes and obesity increased by 1% to DKK 93.9 billion (6% in local currencies) and sales within biopharmaceuticals decreased by 5% to DKK 17.9 billion (1% in local currencies).

Operating profit decreased by 4% in Danish kroner and increased by 3% in local currencies to DKK 47.2 billion, impacted by the depreciation of the US dollar and related currencies versus the Danish krone. Adjusting for severance costs related to lay-offs in second half of 2018 and the expense related to the priority review voucher for the filing of oral semaglutide, operating profit increased by 6% in local currencies.

Net profit increased by 1% to DKK 38.6 billion and diluted earnings per share increased by 4% to DKK 15.93.

In February 2018, Novo Nordisk launched Ozempic®, a new once-weekly GLP-1, in the USA. The weekly new-to-brand prescription market share for Ozempic® has now reached 26% and thereby stabilising the total Novo Nordisk GLP-1 market share. Ozempic® has now been launched in 11 countries in Europe and North America.

In November 2018, Novo Nordisk completed the phase 3a PIONEER programme for oral semaglutide, a new once-daily GLP-1 tablet for people with type 2 diabetes, following successful completion of the remaining two trials, PIONEER 6 and 9. Novo Nordisk has decided to submit the oral semaglutide file around the end of first quarter 2019 and has notified the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that Novo Nordisk will request priority review of the oral semaglutide filing based on a priority review voucher.

For 2019, sales growth is expected to be 2-5% measured in local currencies. This includes the previously communicated negative impact from the changes in the funding of the Medicare Part D coverage by approximately DKK 2 billion. Sales growth reported in Danish kroner is expected to be 2 percentage points higher than in local currencies. Operating profit growth is expected to be 2-6% measured in local currencies. Operating profit growth reported in Danish kroner is expected to be 4 percentage points higher than in local currencies.

The Board of Directors has adjusted the long-term financial target for OPAT/NOA from 125% to 80% to reflect the new accounting principles for handling of leases (IFRS 16) as well as the investment level in tangible and intangible assets. Further, to reflect the investment level, the cash to earnings target is adjusted from 90% to 85%. The long-term financial target for operating profit growth remains unchanged.

At the Annual General Meeting on 21 March 2019, the Board of Directors will propose a final dividend of DKK 5.15 for 2018 per share of DKK 0.20. The expected total dividend for 2018 of DKK 8.15 per share, of which DKK 3.00 per share was paid as interim dividend in August 2018, corresponds to an increase of 4% compared to 2017. The Board of Directors intends to initiate a new 12-month share repurchase programme of up to DKK 15 billion.

Lars Fruergaard Jørgensen, president and CEO: "2018 was a year of change and significant progress for Novo Nordisk. We delivered on our targets for sales and operating profit and have successfully launched Ozempic®, our new once-weekly GLP-1 for people with type 2 diabetes, in several countries. The results from the broad PIONEER phase 3a programme for oral semaglutide are very encouraging for people with type 2 diabetes, and we are now close to submitting oral semaglutide for FDA approval."

Conference call details

On 1 February 2019 at 13.00 CET, corresponding to 7.00 am EST, a conference call will be held. Investors will be able to listen in via a link on novonordisk.com, which can be found under 'Investors'. Presentation material for the conference call will be available approximately one hour before on the same page.

Webcast details

On 4 February 2019 at 13.30 CET, corresponding to 7.30 am EST, management will give a presentation to institutional investors and sell-side analysts in London. A webcast of the presentation can be followed via a link on novonordisk.com, which can be found under 'Investors'. Presentation material for the webcast will be made available on the same page.

Financial calendar
05 March 2019 Deadline for the company's receipts of shareholder proposals for the Annual General Meeting 2019
21 March 2019 Annual General Meeting 2019
03 May 2019 Financial statement for the first three months of 2019
09 August 2019 Financial statement for the first six months of 2019
01 November 2019 Financial statement for the first nine months of 2019
   

Contacts for further information

Media:    
Katrine Sperling +45 3079 6718 krsp@novonordisk.com
Ken Inchausti (USA) +1 609 240 9429 kiau@novonordisk.com
     
Investors:    
Peter Hugreffe Ankersen +45 3075 9085 phak@novonordisk.com
Anders Mikkelsen +45 3079 4461 armk@novonordisk.com
Valdemar Borum Svarrer +45 3079 0301 jvls@novonordisk.com
Kristoffer Due Berg +45 3079 2849 krdb@novonordisk.com
Ann Søndermølle Rendbæk +45 3075 2253 arnd@novonordisk.com


Company announcement No 6 / 2019