GSK, which makes dozens of jabs that treat a range of conditions from Shingles to meningitis and hepatitis, posted a 6% rise in revenue to £7.66bn in the three months ended 31 March (Q1 18: £7.22bn).
The vaccines division accounted for almost of that growth as sales soared by 23% to £1.52bn, with Shingles treatment Shingrix raking in £357mln on its own in the quarter.
Growth was less furious in the larger pharmaceuticals business, where revenues edged 4% higher to £4.16bn.
Within that, sales of Glaxo’s portfolio of HIV drugs, including Triumeq and Tivicay, rose 7% to £1.12bn. Advair sales dropped another 14% to £486mln following the launch of a cut-price competitor.
Revenues in consumer healthcare, home to brands such as Sensodyne and Panadol, were broadly flat at £1.98bn.
Given the top-line bump, as well as stronger margins and a lower tax rate, post-tax profits jumped by 30% to £985mln in the quarter (Q1 18: £759mln). Earnings per share zipped 50% higher to 16.8p (Q1 18: 11.2p).
Bosses, who still expect a 5-9% fall in adjusted earnings per share this year, proposed a 19p quarterly dividend and remain committed to paying out 80p per share this year.
Strong start, says CEO
“We have made a strong start to 2019, which is an important year of execution for GSK, with growth in sales, operating margins and earnings per share in Q1, in line with our expectations,” said chief executive Emma Walmsley.
“Strengthening our pipeline remains our number one priority and we reported positive data for several potential new medicines in HIV and Oncology during the quarter.
“I am also pleased to report that integration planning for our new proposed Consumer Healthcare business is going well and, subject to relevant approvals, we continue to expect to complete this transaction in the second half of the year.”
GSK shares edged 0.3% higher on the back of results to 1,578.2p.