Takeda Pharma posts surprise profit, expects earnings to triple

FILE PHOTO: People walk past the new headquarters of Takeda Pharmaceutical Co in Tokyo, Japan, July 2, 2018. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon

TOKYO (Reuters) – Takeda Pharmaceutical Co Ltd (4502.T) booked a surprise operating profit and forecast income would triple this business year as hefty acquisition costs related to last year’s $59 billion takeover of Shire Plc recede.

Japan’s largest drugmaker said it expects to make 355 billion yen ($3.3 billion) in operating profit for the year to March.

That compares with 100 billion yen for the year just ended – a result that beat its own estimate of a 10 billion yen profit and a consensus prediction of a 12.7 billion yen loss from a Refinitiv poll of 13 analysts.

Due to the COVID-19 crisis, Takeda has halted the start of new drug trials except for TAK-888, its investigational plasma-derived therapy for the disease. It is in an alliance with 10 global plasma companies working on therapies that use immune cells taken out of the blood from recovered coronavirus patients.

The Shire acquisition, completed in January 2019, expanded Takeda’s pipeline and diversified its global sales, with half now coming from the United States. But it also saddled the drugmaker with a large debt pile.

To pare down debt, Takeda has pledged to dispose of $10 billion worth of non-core assets. It said last month it would sell selected over-the-counter and prescription products to Denmark-based Orifarm Group for about $670 million.

It offloaded $7 billion in assets last year, including operations in the Middle East and Africa and a dry-eye drug sold for $5.3 billion to Novartis, Refinitiv data show.

Takeda is focusing on five key business areas: oncology, gastroenterology, neuroscience, rare diseases, and plasma-derived therapies. The company told investors in November it expected to launch 14 new products through fiscal 2024 that combined would deliver about $10 billion in peak yearly sales.

Ahead of the results, Takeda’s shares rose 1.2% versus a 0.5% slide in the broader market.

Reporting by Rocky Swift; Editing by Edwina Gibbs

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