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GSK lifts annual profit forecast after third quarter beat on vaccines strength

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GSK lifts annual profit forecast after third quarter beat on vaccines strength
FILE PHOTO: The GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) logo on top of GSK Asia House is seen through vertical louvres in Singapore, March 21, 2018. REUTERS/Loriene Perera   -   Copyright  Loriene Perera(Reuters)
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(Reuters) – GlaxoSmithKline Plc <GSK.L> on Wednesday raised its annual profit forecast for the second time this year on the back of soaring sales of its Shingles vaccine, sending shares of the British drugmaker up nearly 3%.

The drugmaker now expects full-year profit to be roughly flat compared to last year at constant currency, up from a previous forecast of a fall of 3% to 5%.

Chief Executive Officer Emma Walmsley has set bold plans in motion to rejuvenate GSK, which has included the spin off or sale of a number of businesses since she took over in 2017 and greater focus on the company’s pharmaceuticals business.

Sales of Shingrix, launched in 2017, rose 76% to £535 million, way ahead of analysts’ expectations of £464 million, leading vaccines unit sales to rise 15% to £2.31 billion.

Turnover rose 11% to £9.39 billion in the three months ended Sept. 30 from a year earlier.

Adjusted earnings were 38.6 pence per share.

Analysts on average had expected earnings of 33 pence and sales of £9.02 billion, according to a company-compiled consensus of 15 analysts.

The company said the new forecast reflects operating performance, increased investment in research and development as well as a lower expected effective tax rate of around 17% for the year.

GSK shares were up nearly 3% to 1788 pence at 1213 GMT, their highest since May 2013.

(Reporting by Pushkala Aripaka and Ankur Banerjee in Bengaluru; Editing by Tomasz Janowski)

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