SYDNEY: Australian biotherapeutics company CSL Ltd posted record profit and forecast an even better year in 2018-19 on the back of strong sales in the United States, sending its shares to a record high.
The former government department firmed its position as Australia’s fifth-biggest company by market capitalization as investors bet on future earnings growth from the opening of new collection centers for blood plasma across the United States.
The company originally known as Commonwealth Serum Laboratories said it expected to grow profit up to another 14 percent for the year to end-June 2019.
“Given the current momentum across each of the core franchises, as well as clear guidance for further margin expansion, we would be surprised if the market did not expect upside to guidance as the company progresses through the year,” Goldman Sachs analysts wrote in a client note.
The Melbourne-based company posted a net profit of $1.73 billion for the year to end-June, beating its own recently increased forecast of between $1.68 billion and $1.71 billion. The result was broadly in line with analysts’ forecasts.
CSL shares rose 6.3 percent, hitting an intraday record of A$214.68, while the broader market was up 0.4 percent.
The shares are up more than 50 percent so far in 2018 and its market capitalization of A$97 billion ($70.1 billion) ranks fifth for Australian-listed companies, within striking distance of fourth-placed Westpac Banking Corp on A$104 billion.
CSL had raised its annual profit guidance twice in the past year as it started to generate earnings from a host of takeovers.
Revenue from its Pennsylvania-based Behring grew by more than 13 percent and accounted for more than 86 percent of CSL’s net profit this year.
CSL’s Seqirus, the world’s second-largest influenza vaccines firm, broke even three years after it was created to report earnings before interest and tax of $52.4 million this year, helped by seasonal vaccine sales in the United States.
Seqirus had reported a loss of $179.4 million last year.
The global pharma firm also announced a final dividend of $0.93 per share, compared to the $0.72 per share paid last year.
(Reporting by Byron Kaye in Sydney and Devika Syamnath in Bengaluru; Editing by Stephen Coates)