Hikma shares hit by downgraded drug sale forecasts

Hikma Pharmaceuticals shares have plunged more than 7pc after the pharmaceutical giant reduced its estimates for this year’s sales.

The FTSE 250 firm, which is putting its optimism on a possible blockbuster generic inhaler product to its competitor’s GSK’s asthma drug Advair in the US, announced revenues from its generics division, its second largest, will be $620m (£482m) this 2017.

Overall full-year revenues are assumed to be $2bn, a drop from its $2.1bn estimate.

Chairman and chief executive of Hikma, Darwazah, cautioned that in the US, its biggest market, “competition is increasing and pricing pressure is intensifying”.

Hikma’s programs to sell a rival Advair medicine hit a delay this year when it disappointed to win US regulatory agreement and said it no longer anticipated to launch the product this year.

Hikma said it was in talks with the FDA in the USA about re-examining the medicine, stating there were “no material issues”.

For the half of the year, sales went up 1pc to $895m, boosted by “resilient” trading in its largest division, injectables. Operating profits plunged 7pc to $113m, a fall from $121m.

Hikma also declared it had extended a distribution and licensing deal with Japan’s Takeda Pharmaceuticals, which will introduce new products to its business in the Middle East and North Africa.

Hikma shares plunged as much as 15pc in mid-morning exchange trading, but went up slightly by noon time, down 8pc on the previous day’s close at £12.24.