GSK bullish on 2023 as earnings beat expectations

GSK posted robust quarterly earnings that beat expectations on the back of sales of its shingles vaccine and said it was bullish on this year despite a decline in turnover from Covid-related products.

The UK drugmaker, which has solely focused on drugs and vaccines since spinning off its consumer healthcare division last year, posted fourth-quarter sales of £7.4bn, a decline of 3 per cent at constant exchange rates.

For the full year, sales rose 13 per cent to £29.3bn. Adjusted quarterly profit was 25.8p per share. This compares with GSK-compiled fourth-quarter consensus estimates of £7.1bn for sales and 21.2p earnings per share.

GSK forecasts group sales to increase between 6 and 8 per cent in 2023 and earnings per share to rise between 12 and 15 per cent, it said in a statement on Wednesday.

Emma Walmsley, chief executive, said 2022 was a “landmark year” for the company. “We enter 2023 with good momentum, underpinning confidence in our ambitious sales and profit outlooks for 2026,” she added.

Yearly sales were boosted by speciality medicines, with double-digit growth in treatments for disease areas including HIV and immuno-inflammation. Vaccines grew 11 per cent at constant currencies, helping offset much slower growth for other legacy products.

London-listed shares ticked 0.5 per cent higher in early trading on Wednesday.

The group expects no “significant” Covid-19 related profits in 2023 as governments step back from large-scale procurement of drugs and vaccines to tackle the pandemic.

The drugmaker, which posted £2.4bn in pandemic-related sales in the past year said on Wednesday it expected falling demand for Covid-related products to reduce turnover growth in 2023 by approximately 9 per cent.