LONDON (AP) — GlaxoSmithKline, the world’s second-largest drug maker by revenue, on Wednesday reported a nearly 19 percent rise in first quarter profit, led by strong sales growth in Asia Pacific and emerging markets.
The pharmaceutical company said net profit for the first three months of the year was 1.34 billion pounds ($2.4 billion), up from 1.13 billion pounds in the first quarter last year.
Revenue rose 9 percent to 7.4 billion pounds.
The company said underlying sales — excluding the impact of pandemic products including Relenza and H1N1 vaccine — rose by 4 percent. Sales of H1N1 vaccine totaled 698 million pounds, or half the company’s vaccine sales.
Sales in the United States were down 1 percent, reflecting continuing pressure from generic drug competition. The company said sales were up 45 percent in Asia Pacific, 43 percent in emerging markets and 16 percent in Europe.
It increased its quarterly dividend to 15 pence from 14 pence.
GSK shares were up 1.7 percent at 1,234.5 pence on the London Stock Exchange following the news.
Chief Executive Andrew Witty said the company was on track to achieve 2.2 billion pounds of annual cost savings by 2012, with annual savings rising to 1.5 billion pounds by the end of this year.
The company said it had absorbed the impact of U.S. health care reform legislation in the first quarter, “and we expect to offset any further impact through continued operational performance.”