August 7, 2008 / 2:45 PM / in 10 years

Boehringer's H1 operating profit falls 10 pct

FRANKFURT, Aug 7 (Reuters) - Boehringer Ingelheim’s first-half operating profit fell 10 percent because of a weak dollar and rising research and development costs, Germany’s second-biggest drugmaker said on Thursday.

Operating profit at Boehringer, owned by the Boehringer family, dipped to 899 million euros ($1.4 billion) despite a 2.1 percent increase in net sales to 5.5 billion euros.

Driving sales growth were its top medicines such as Spiriva, used to treat smoker’s lung, high blood pressure drug Micardis and prostate drug Flomax.

Despite the profit decline, Boehringer said the company expected operating income to improve and sales to grow further for the full year.

“We posted excellent growth in all countries,” Chief Executive Alessandro Banchi said in a statement. “Boehringer remains on a healthy growth path and the company continues to outpace the pharma market,” Banchi added.

Boehringer’s core business is prescription medicines, which account for almost 80 percent of net sales.

Spiriva’s sales rose 23.8 percent to 976 million euros, followed by an 11.5 percent rise in Micardis to 603 million euros. Flomax sales rose to 496 million euros.

Boehringer also said its new blood clot drug Pradaxa has been introduced in northern European countries after its launch in Germany and Britain.

The drug, which was approved in Europe in March for the prevention of venous thromboembolic disorders following hip or knee replacement surgery in adults, has also been approved in Canada and New Zealand.

It will compete with Sanofi-Aventis’s (SASY.PA) top-selling injectable drug Lovenox, which is currently the standard treatment given to patients after major orthopaedic operations.

The company, which also makes drugs to treat heart diseases, AIDS and arthritis, was founded in 1885 by Albert Boehringer and is owned by fewer than 20 of his descendants. (Reporting by Mantik Kusjanto; Editing by David Cowell)

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