Boehringer Ingelheim says it is now “positioned for future growth” leaving behind a “challenging year” in 2014 which saw sales dip and earnings remain flat.

The German drugs giant booked a 3.2% decrease in sales for the year (or -5.3% in euro terms) to 13.3 billion euros, while operating income came in at 2.1 billion euros.

Results were impacted by a rapidly changing market during the year, particularly in the US, in part to tougher regulation which led to additional pressures on the pharmaceutical business as a whole, the firm said.  

The group’s prescription medicines generated net sales of 10.1 billion euros, down from the 10.89 billion euros booked for 2013. At 3.2 billion euros, COPD therapy Spirivia (tiotropium) remained BI’s best seller, despite a 1.4% slip, while blood thinner Pradaxa (dabigatran etexilate) remained near the top with - albeit flat - sales of 1.2 billion euros. 

Positive outlook

Looking forward, BI said it is expecting its diabetes drugs to lead growth in the coming years. This was nicely illustrated by 37% (CER) growth in 2014 turnover of its Trajenta/Jentadueto (linagliptin) type 2 diabetes franchise, which pulled in 636 million euros. 

The firm is also pinning its hopes on a stream of new products launched in the last year, including another diabetes drug Jardiance (empagliflozin), Ofev (nintedanib) for the treatment of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis and, most recently Vargatef (nintedanib), for the treatment of advanced lung cancer patients with adenocarcinoma after chemotherapy.

“In our view, Boehringer Ingelheim is well-positioned for future growth,” said Andreas Barner, chairman of the board, noting that “despite the difficult market environment, we are therefore planning in 2015 for a moderate increase in net sales compared with the previous year”.