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2012 gets off on the right foot

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    Our interim financial report for the first quarter of the year is, as usual, giving an update on the company’s performance so far. This kind of information is important for all stakeholders and especially the capital markets.

    But how are those outside the financial sector dealing with this information?

    Friends and family sometimes ask me (just out of politeness, perhaps) how work is going and, while I could bore them with details of UCB’s expected revenue for 2012 (approximately €3.1 billion, by the way) or the expected recurring EBITDA (which, as it happens, is expected to be €630-€660 million), I prefer to give them the "elevator pitch".

    So when I’m boiling down the company’s performance this year to date and its prospects for non-experts I focus on just a handful of facts.

    For starters, the company is on track. We set out our forecasts for the year and the performance in the first quarter is in line with expectations. Total revenue (which was €877 million in the first quarter) is around what we’d expected it would be. We’re satisfied.

    Secondly, our three core medicines – to treat conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, epilepsy and Parkinson’s disease – reached combined sales of €200 million in the first three months of the year. To put that number into context, this represents a 50% increase on the same three-month period last year. We’re on the up.

    Third – our pipeline's performance is impressive, I think, with an approval in the U.S., a new entrant into phase 3 trials – the last phase of clinical development – and last but not least positive phase 3 data for one of our core medicines.

    In case they suspect I’m only giving the good news, I like to mention that net sales from our established epilepsy medicine are down because its patents have expired in the US and Europe. This means the days of having exclusive access to those markets are history. Of course, we expected this. On the upside, our core medicines' sales should soon more than compensate for this predictable decline.

    And, if the friend or family member who so kindly enquired about my work is still listening, I might also wax lyrical further about our promising R&D pipeline: UCB scientists and doctors are working with patients tirelessly to understand serious diseases and to turn this knowledge into products which will help patients. It’s an exciting investment of time, energy and money that has shown good results in the past and promises to do so in future too.

    Is that too much information or is there interest for more? Maybe when asked ‘How’s work?’ I should just say ‘Fine, thanks’ and tell them to read the report and contact me with any questions – which is in any case something I would encourage you to do!

    For more information, please contact Antje Witte.
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