GlaxoSmithKline plc (GSK) Posts Solid Earnings Results

GlaxoSmithKline plc (NYSE:GSK) (LON:GSK) released its fourth quarter earnings results this morning, posting pretax profits of £2.55 billion for the December quarter. That’s compared to £1.73 billion in the same quarter a year ago. Revenues increased to £9.91 billion from £6.8 billion in the same quarter a year ago. Earnings per share also rose to 51.3 pence, compared to 17.5 pence in the same quarter a year ago.

Breaking down GlaxoSmithKline’s results

GlaxoSmithKline plc (NYSE:GSK) (LON:GSK) reported £26.5 billion in turnover, a 1% increase, and core earnings per share of 112.2 pence, a 4% increase and in line with its guidance. The drug maker reported an “exceptional year” for research and development delivery, with six major new products approved and five more regulatory filings completed.

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The pharmaceutical company said its Respiratory, Vaccines, HIV and Oncology divisions were strengthened by new product launches. It is expanding its respiratory portfolio even further with two major recent approvals and seven potential new products in late-stage development. GlaxoSmithKline plc (NYSE:GSK) (LON:GSK) reported more than 1,700 prescriptions for its HIV drug Tivicay filled in the 23rd week it was on the market. Melanoma drugs Mekinist and Tafinlar hold a 60% combined share of the targeted market in the U.S.

GlaxoSmithKline returns cash to shareholders, guides for 2014

The drug maker returned £5.2 billion to shareholders in all of 2013 after bumping its dividend up to 78 pence, including a 23 pence dividend for the fourth quarter, and buying back £1.5 billion worth of shares.

This year GlaxoSmithKline plc (NYSE:GSK) (LON:GSK) guided for a 4% to 8% growth in core earnings per share at constant currency rates. It projected 2% growth in revenues, excluding the divestments it made last year.

In addition, the drug maker said it expects to see data from late-stage drug trials on six of its potential new products this year and next. Ten of its new drugs are moving into the late-stage trial phase. The company said it expects “around 30” brands innovations or extensions in Consumer Healthcare this year.