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Drugmaker Sobi books profit fall on restructuring, Russia

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STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - Swedish Orphan Biovitrum (Sobi) on Thursday reported a smaller-than-expected first-quarter operating profit and said sales grew in emerging markets for its drug Kineret for the treatment of COVID-19.

The rare disease drugmaker's operating profit fell to 776 million crowns ($78.6 million) from 1.03 billion and missed the 1.16 billion expected by analysts polled by Refinitiv.

The group, which sells drugs targeted at haemophilia, autoimmune diseases, metabolic diseases and cancer supportive care, booked restructuring costs of 507 million and a 157 million provision for expected credit losses in Russia.

Sobi said it had 46 employees in Russia and was supplying a few medicines in the country including Kineret.

Regulators in several regions have approved Sobi's arthritis drug Kineret, with the active substance anakinra, for the treatment of COVID-19.

"While Kineret continued to perform well, driven by new uses and patient growth, most of the sales growth came from supplies in emerging markets related to COVID-19. This was partly offset by lower spontaneous use for COVID-19 in the U.S.," it said.

Sobi said it still expected full-year sales growth, measured in local currencies, in the mid to high single-digit percentages.

It repeated a forecast for an operating profit margin before amortisation "at a low 30s percentage of revenue" but added that the forecast was now based on an adjusted margin.

($1 = 9.8786 Swedish crowns)

(Reporting by Anna Ringstrom; editing by Niklas Pollard and Jason Neely)

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