German pharmaceuticals group Boehringer Ingelheim has reported a successful first half-year, with sales in the first six months of 2002 rising 21 per cent on the previous year to €3.7 billion and an operating income growth of 48 per cent, reaching €495 million.
The company said it expects the year as a whole to bring 20 per cent sales growth compared with the previous year (€6.7 billion) with a 12 per cent improvement on last year's operating income (€980 million).
While the largest sector in the company, the Prescription Medicines business, grew by 17 per cent, the Consumer Health Care business posted as much as 63 per cent growth, to €490 million.
Sales were strong in the US but down slightly in Germany. However other European markets such as Spain, the United Kingdom and France, showed stronger growth.
"The marked improvement in operating income was the result of Boehringer Ingelheim's clearly improved earnings potential and highly successful business in the USA," said Krebs.
Krebs pointed to the success of the generic product Pamidronate and other new patent-protected products which accounted for an even higher percentage of the total portfolio, posting sales of €1.3 billion (or 38.3 per cent). The respiratory product Spirva, launched in some European countries from June 2002, is expected to reach ambitious targets.
However, he also stressed that extensive investments and considerably less favourable exchange rates would result in a lower growth in operating income in the second half of the year.
"In a move to maintain the momentum of our growth engine, the company will invest even more intensively in research, development, clinical studies and fixed assets in the years ahead," said Professor Krebs. In the first half of the year, R&D spending accounted for 16 per cent of sales (€610 million), the investment ratio 7 per cent (€257 million).
The regional trend of the past few years continued through the first six months of 2002, according to Krebs. US business posted over 38 per cent growth, although business in Germany fell by one per cent to €385 million and, on account of exchange rates, down 12 per cent in Japan.
Krebs not only held the changes in the Boehringer Ingelheim product portfolio responsible for the situation in Germany, but also the continuing over-regulation of the markets. He once again called for free pricing of patented and generic medicinal products in Germany.
The number of employees at Boehringer Ingelheim rose in the first half of 2002 by 8.4 per cent with Germany witnessing an increase of almost 5 per cent.