© Reuters. The logo of Danish drugmaker Novo Nordisk, Copenhagen, Denmark, September 26, 2023. REUTERS/Tom Little
(Correcting to show forecasts for sales, profit growth in paragraph 1 are not for new record)
COPENHAGEN/LONDON (Reuters) -Novo Nordisk on Wednesday reported fourth-quarter operating profit above expectations and also forecast another year of double-digit sales and operating profit growth due to its popular weight-loss drug Wegovy.
“We are very pleased with the strong performance in 2023 reflecting that more than 40 million people are now benefiting from our innovative diabetes and obesity treatments,” CEO Lars Fruergaard Jorgensen said in a statement.
The Danish company said it expects sales growth this year between 16% and 25% and operating profit to rise 19%-28% as demand soars for Wegovy and diabetes drug Ozempic, which contains the same active ingredient.
Analysts on average expect Novo Nordisk (NYSE:) to deliver sales growth of 21% this year, according to LSEG data.
Novo Nordisk, which has raced to increase output amid shortages of Wegovy, said it started gradually increasing the supply of the lower dose strength of the drug in the United States in January.
The company has since last May restricted supply of lower dose strength.
The results underscore Wegovy’s success and Novo’s lead in the fast-growing obesity drug market, even as the company faces early competition from U.S. rival Eli Lilly (NYSE:).
Strong demand for Wegovy and Ozempic have propelled Novo’s shares to record highs, making it Europe’s most valuable listed company worth more than 450 billion euros ($487 billion), ahead of LVMH.
It also provided an economic bonanza for its home country of Denmark.