Akzo Nobel of the Netherlands, which says it is “fit for the future” has posted a solid set of financials for full-year 2006 and noted that a listing of its Organon pharmaceuticals is now "imminent."

The company actually posted record net income of 1.15 billion euros, an increase of 20%, while revenues reached 13.74 billion euros, up 6%, but the figures were below analysts’ consensus forecasts.

As for Organon, full-year revenues were up 8% to 2.61 billion euros and the unit’s operating income before incidentals climbed 34% to 362 million euros, despite increased marketing and R&D expenditures.

Growth was driven by the firm’s contraceptives which rose 18% to 669 million euros and of that total, NuvaRing contributed 213 million euros (+67%), thanks to an 80% increase in US sales. The infertility treatment Puregon/Follistim (follitropin beta) - Organon's number one product - achieved a record result, rising 8% to 384 million euros, helped by promising uptake in Japan and China, though sales of its enzyme replacement therapy Livial (tibolone) for the treatment of menopausal symptoms in women, which was rejected for approval by the US Food and Drug Administration last June, slipped 2% to 151 million euros.

Akzo also noted that due to growing generic competition in Europe, turnover from the antidepressant Remeron (mirtazapine) decreased 11% to 253 million euros.

The company said that three compounds went into Phase III trials in 2006 – the fertility product Org 38286, Nomac/E2 (a contraceptive pill containing natural estrogen) and the insomnia drug Org 50081 – and the anaesthesia compound sugammadex should be filed with regulatory authorities this year. Organon suffered a major blow when Pfizer pulled out of developing asenapine for schizophrenia and acute mania in bipolar disorder but the firm said that it is still a promising compound and will continue with development of the drug.

On the planned separation of Organon, the company said an initial public offering was imminent and that it intended to arrange it in the coming weeks. Chief executive Hans Wijers reiterated the firm’s view that the IPO “will create significant long-term value for Akzo shareholders," adding that it would enable the company to grow organically and through acquisitions.

Akzo is planning to list 20%-30% of Organon, which analysts say is worth 9 billion euros on a stand-alone basis, less than would have been raised if the unit were sold outright. For 2007, the firm did not give any specific forecasts but said it is well placed to outgrow its markets in 2007, “supported by favourable signs about the world economy.”