Market Report: Hikma Pharmaceuticals impresses the City in its first set of results since joining the FTSE 100


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The Independent Online

Hikma Pharmaceuticals shrugged off a fall in profits to impress the City in its first set of results since joining the big league.

Shares in the Jordan-based drug maker, which was promoted to the FTSE 100 in March, rose 62p to 2,462p as its half-year results just beat expectations.

Revenues fell 4 per cent to $709m, while operating profits slipped 18 per cent to $194m. However, the company crucially repeated its full-year guidance.

A strong showing from the branded and injectables businesses helped to offset a decline from the generics arm. The unit, which pushes out-of-patent drugs into new markets, will complete its $2.65bn takeover of Roxane later this year to create the sixth largest US generics group.

JPMorgan analysts said: “Investors can now buy into the upcoming post 2015 upgrades which we see resulting from the Roxane acquisition.”

The pharma firm was among just a handful of blue-chip risers, with a sea of red engulfing the FTSE 100, down 122.84 to 6,403.45.

Glencore caused much of the damage, crashing 17.15p to new lows of 158.95p after its half-year earnings fell 29 per cent. Other miners were also beaten on concerns over demand from China. Anglo American tumbled 32.5p to 709.4p, BHP Billiton lost 41p to 1,071.5p and Rio Tinto fell 89p to 2,323p.

Nor was there any respite for the beleaguered oil sector as disappointing half-year results at EnQuest, down 2p to 31.25p, spelt more misery for investors.

Sirius Minerals, which recently received the green light to mine potash from the North York Moors National Park, edged up 0.25p to 17p as its unnamed US customer trebled its order for the fertiliser. The deal should make it easier to secure the £1.7bn needed to build the mine.

Aim’s army of small investors sent Fastnet 0.21p higher to 2.66p, as the Irish company looks to exit oil and gas with the sector having fallen on hard times. 

The word is chairman Cathal Friel, who also runs Irish finance house Raglan Capital, is hoping to switch Horizon Medical Technologies into the Fastnet shell to take advantage of the buzz surrounding the biotech sector.