Wednesday 28 October 2020 12:37 pm

GSK profit falls a fifth in the third quarter

Glaxosmithkline (GSK) saw profit attributable to shareholders slip nearly a fifth in the third quarter, but said it was on track to deliver on its guidance for the year.

The update came after the pharma giant announced that it would provide a global coronavirus vaccine programme with 200m doses of its candidate.

Read more: How close are we to having an approved coronavirus vaccine?

Over the three month period profit fell from £1.55bn last year to £1.2bn, a decrease of 17 per cent.

Adjusted operating profit slipped four per cent, while turnover fell eight per cent to £8.6bn.

The blue chip said that the pandemic had hit its businesses, especially its vaccines unit, but that vaccination rates were beginning to improve.

For the first nine months of the year adjusted operating profit was flat at £7.1bn.

GSK chief exec Emma Walmsley said: “GSK has responded well to a challenging operating environment this year with disciplined cost control and strong commercial momentum in key growth product.

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“This, combined with improving vaccination rates this quarter, means we are on track to deliver within our earnings guidance range for 2020.”

GSK added that profit would be at the lower end of its forecast of a one to four per cent drop.

Shingles drug Shingrix, the biggest driver of sales growth last year, saw its quarterly revenue fall 30 per cent from a year earlier to £374m, coming in 18.5 per cent below market expectations.

GSK is one of a number of firms working to develop a Covid-19 vaccine, having partnered with French firm Sanofi.

Read more: Astrazeneca shares up on Covid-19 vaccine hospital rollout reports

It has agreed a deal with the UK government to provide 60m doses of its potential treatment once it has been approved.

It is currently undergoing phase two clinical trials.

More to follow.