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Drug firms AstraZeneca and Indivior to be in spotlight on Thursday

AstraZeneca, Indivior and Coca-Cola HBC are among the higher profile names in the schedule for Thursday.

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AstraZeneca is slated to release full year results

For the first time in what feels like forever, AstraZeneca Plc (LON:AZN) should see product sales return to growth in Thursday’s full-year results.

The FTSE 100 drugs giant has suffered in recent years a several of its blockbusters, such as cholesterol drug Crestor, lost their patent exclusivity. But Astra expects to report a “low single-digit percentage increase” for 2018, and its third-quarter results showed it was on course to do just that, with product sales up 2% in the first nine months.

It has successfully re-built its drug pipeline of late, particularly in oncology, and big things will be expected from Tagrisso, Imfinzi and Lynparza – three relatively new cancer drugs.

A flurry of recent positive data and new approvals from European and US regulators should make for a bright 2019 outlook, too.

Indivior to assess Suboxone damage

Staying with drugs, Indivior PLC’s (LON:INDV) long-running battle to protect its blockbuster opioid addiction treatment from generic competition seems to be coming to a painful close. Indian giant Dr Reddy’s is free to start selling its cut-price version of Suboxone next week after a US appeals court rejected Indivior’s claim that it infringes on its patents.

Chief executive Shaun Thaxter warned earlier this month of a “potential material and rapid loss of market share” as a result of the copycat’s launch.

In Thursday’s full-year results, investors will want to see if Indivior can put an exact figure on that damage – both to its market share and to its sales and profits forecasts. A keen eye will also be cast upon Sublocade, a once-monthly injection that the FTSE 250 drug maker has been trying to groom as Suboxone’s patent-protected successor.

Sales were hardly through the roof last year, but hopes are still high, and shareholders will want to see a surge in demand in 2019.

Investors look for some fizz in Coca-Cola HBC’s finals

Back with the blue chips, Coca-Cola HBC PLC (LON:CCH) gave an upbeat assessment in its third-quarter results in November, saying it expected an “acceleration” in price/mix growth in the final quarter.

Investors will be hoping the sweetness has been maintained over the final months, with analysts at The Share Centre expecting “growth in revenue and profit margins”.

“The shares have risen strongly in recent months as investors have seen the company avoid a significant impact from the new UK sugar tax and enjoy success with low-sugar and energy drinks” analysts said, adding that growth in developing markets such as Poland has helped lift the company’s earnings, so any change in this outlook will be eyed.

Significant events expected on Thursday February 14:

Finals: AstraZeneca PLC (LON:AZN), Coca Cola HBC PLC (LON:CCH), Indivior PLC (LON:INDV), Micro Focus International PLC (LON:MCRO), ConvaTec Group PLC (LON:CTEC), Moneysupermarket PLC (LON:MONY), Lancashire PLC (LON:LRE), Attraqt Group PLC (LON:ATQT)

Interims: Ashmore group PLC (LON:ASHM), MJ Gleeson PLC (LON:GLE), Grit Real Estate Income Group Limited (LON:GR1T)

Trading updates: Trifast PLC (LON:TRI), Safestore PLC (Q1) (LON:SAFE), UK Commercial Property REIT (LON:UKCM)

Ex-dividends to knock 19.7 points off FTSE 100 index: BP PLC (LON:BP.), Hargreaves Lansdown PLC (LON:HL.), Royal Dutch Shell PLC (LON:RDSA) (LON:RDSB), Unilever plc (LON:ULVR)

Economic data: RICS housing market survey; US weekly jobless claims; US PPI

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