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By Ludwig Burger
(Reuters) -Swiss drug contract manufacturer Lonza said first-half core earnings gained 16.5% on strong demand from biopharmaceutical companies.
First-half core earnings - adjusted for interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation - (EBITDA) rose to 987 million Swiss francs ($1.02 billion), it said in a statement on Friday, beating an analyst consensus of about 940 million francs.
For this year, Lonza said it was still targeting "low to mid-teens" sales growth, when excluding currency swings, as well as an improvement in the core EBITDA margin that is consistent with a 2024 goal of 33%-35%, up from 30.8% in 2021.
The company is in a multi-year investment push to assist drug developers as they bet on new therapeutic proteins as well as cell and gene therapies. Under the plan, Lonza earlier this month announced a 500 million franc investment in Switzerland to fill biotech drugs into vials.
The company, which is a key supplier of vaccine maker Moderna, is banking on long-term growth in the biopharmaceuticals sector well beyond the pandemic.
(Reporting by Ludwig Burger, Editing by Miranda Murray)