GlaxoSmithKline Posts 16% Rise in Full-Year Profit

GlaxoSmithKline, Europe's biggest drug maker, reported a 16% rise in annual profit Thursday, in line with expectations of analysts polled by Reuters. But the company said 2007 growth would slow as it awaits pipeline renewal.

Fourth-quarter profit before tax was $2.2 billion, up from $2.08 billion in the same three months ending December in 2005.

Sales in the fourth-quarter rose to $7.79 billion from $7.66 billion, helped by strong U.S. demand.

For the coming year, GSK forecast EPS growth in constant exchange rate terms of between 8% to 10% -- better than the low single-digit level some analysts had expected.

GSK said that it plans launch 5 major new pharmaceutical products in 2007:Tykerb, which is a breast cancer drug; Allermist/Avamys, a allergic rhinitis treatment; Coreg, for treating heart conditions and Trexima for migraines. The company also, said that it expects to file for U.S. approval for cervical cancer vaccine Cervarix in April.

Competition from generic drug makers will increase for major pharmaceuticals in 2007, and GSK is no exception with both its anti-nausea drug Zofran and anti-depressant Wellbutrin XL set to face new rivals.

The company's shares rose more than 1% in London in reaction to the results.