By Dominic Chopping 
 

Novo Nordisk AS reported results for the fourth quarter on Wednesday. Here's what we watched:

 

NET PROFIT: Net profit for the three months to Dec. 31 rose to 9.32 billion Danish kroner ($1.51 billion) from DKK8.72 billion a year earlier, above the DKK9.08 billion forecast by analysts in a FactSet poll.

 

SALES: Sales slipped 0.9% to DKK32.14 billion against analysts' expectations of DKK31.85 billion.

 

WHAT WE WATCHED:

 

GLUCAGON-LIKE PEPTIDE-1: Novo Nordisk's Ozempic glucagon-like peptide-1 drugs, or GLP-1, to treat type 2 diabetes had a 27% increase in sales in 4Q on the year. The fourth quarter had strong sales growth within diabetes and obesity care, partially offset by lower sales of insulin, fewer new patients as a result of Covid-19, higher unemployment in the U.S. and coronavirus pandemic-related destocking.

 

MARGINS: The gross margin was 82.5% in 4Q compared to 83.2% in the same period last year. The decline of 0.7 percentage points reflects positive product mix and productivity, countered by a negative impact from lower realized prices in the U.S. and a negative currency impact of 1.3 percentage points.

 

GUIDANCE: The company said it expects full-year 2021 sales growth of 5%-9% and operating profit growth of 4%-8% on the year in local currencies. Reported growth in sales and operating profit is seen around four and six percentage points lower than growth in local currencies. The board proposed a final dividend of DKK5.85 a share for 2020 and intends to initiate a new 12-month share repurchase program of up to DKK17 billion.

 

Write to Dominic Chopping at dominic.chopping@wsj.com

 

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

February 03, 2021 09:17 ET (14:17 GMT)

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