Danish drugmaker Novo Nordisk has posted a 13% increase in operating profit for 2006 to 9.12 billion kroner ($1.58 billion), with sales climbing 15% to 38.74 billion kroner.

Growth was driven by Novo's diabetes division, where turnover rose 16% to 27.87 billion kroner, with the firm’s stable of insulin analogue products making up 10.83 billion kroner of the total, an increase of 48% on the year before.

Among the major products in Novo's biopharmaceuticals business, sales of which climbed 12% to 10.88 billion kroner, NovoSeven (recombinant Factor VIIa) was up 11% to 5.64 billion kroner, while growth hormone product sales, including Norditropin, went up 19% to 3.31 billion kroner, helped by the success of the firm’s new patient-friendly NordiFlex delivery device.

Chief executive Lars Rebien Sorensen was pleased with the results, “not least our modern insulins,” adding that the firm is performing well in all its majotr markets. Novo has made a number of productivity improvements which “allows us to invest more in both R&D and sales and marketing, and we remain confident that also in 2007 we will be able to deliver a solid financial performance,” he concluded.

The results provided few surprises, according to a research note from Jyske Bank, which is maintaining its 'accumulate' rating on the stock because “we are still convinced that the market has undervalued the company's potential for growth". The company’s shares have risen by almost 40% over the last year.