UCB's CEO Confirms Company Strategy
Statement of the CEO of UCB at the AGM
Dividend increased by 2.2% to a gross dividend of €0.92 (€0.69 net) per share
All resolutions passed the ordinary and extraordinary meeting
New composition of the Board of Directors approved
Brussels (Belgium) - April 24, 2008 - 2:00 PM (CEST) - Today, UCB held its Annual General Meeting (AGM). During the course of this meeting Roch Doliveux, Chief Executive Officer UCB, gave the shareholders of UCB a short overview of the financial year 2007, an update on the most recent development of the group and confirmed the company's strategy to build the next generation biopharma leader.
"2007 was an important year for UCB and 2008 will be another one as we advance in our execution phase", said Roch Doliveux, CEO of UCB. "For 2007, Keppra® reached blockbuster status, two new products were launched in the US and four regulatory filings were achieved in the US and the EU. We also delivered an impressive amount of R&D milestones. I am particularly proud that more and more patients with severe diseases benefit from UCB's medicines. I am also pleased by the underlying positive financial performance, which is in line with previous years' all time high performance and supported by our successful integration."
"While UCB had its share of good news concerning the progression of our pipeline, we also had our disappointments. On March 20th, we announced that we were recalling our anti-Parkinson's drug Neupro® from the US market and certain batches in Europe. The issue is neither one of efficacy of Neupro® nor of safety, but of solubility with the active substance crystallizing over time in the patch. It is a known phenomenon in the industry that can be resolved by changing formulation. We are working to correct the issue as fast as possible but it might take some time to have Neupro® back on the US market. The situation in Europe is being monitored. Depending on the resolution timeline of this issue, the full effect on UCB will be different and we are working on ways to mitigate the impact. More detailed information will be presented as we report our 2008 half year results."
"We were particularly pleased with the approval of Cimzia® in the US for treatment of Crohn's disease. The US represents over 70% of the world anti-TNF market for Crohn's disease. Cimzia® is the first and only PEGylated Fc free anti-TNF. Cimzia® will be launched in the US 48 hours after approval, a tribute to the preparedness of my UCB colleagues. We have put competitive programs in place that address the needs of patients, physicians and payers."
"UCB successfully reached other important milestones since the beginning of 2008, such as filing of Keppra®XR in the US, approval of Xyzal® oral solution and positive results of our new anti-cancer drug CDP791 which we will partner."
"Four years ago, UCB was thriving on Zyrtec®'s success with two major challenges ahead: Zyrtec® patent expiry in the US end of 2007 and Keppra® loss of exclusivity a few months later. Since then, we have successfully transformed UCB into a pure biopharmaceutical company with a particularly rich pipeline which not only will offset the losses from the patent expiries, but drives UCB's growth in the mid and long-term. Both Celltech and Schwarz Pharma have been promptly integrated and we are now in the midst of the "Execution stage", delivering on our R&D milestones, addressing the timing uncertainties of all regulatory approvals in our industry and being ready for our new product launches. This Execution phase will be followed by an Intense Growth phase during which we will realize the commercial potential of our new products such as Cimzia®, Vimpat®, Neupro® or Rikelta(TM)."
At the Annual General Meeting (AGM) 110.9 million shares (61.5% of shares outstanding) were represented. The AGM and the Extraordinary General Meeting (109.2 million shares or 60.6% of shares outstanding were represented), which also took place today, approved all resolutions. For details please see UCB's website
The AGM also approved for the fiscal year 2007 the payment of a gross dividend of €0.92 per share (net dividend of €0.69 per share) compared with €0.90 per share for 2006 (net €0.675). The dividend will be payable on Monday 28 April 2008 (coupon No. 10).
The AGM appointed Jean-Pierre Kinet, Armand De Decker, Norman J. Ornstein and Thomas Leysen (effective January 2009) as independent Directors and new members of the Board of Directors of UCB and re-elected Evelyn du Monceau de Bergendal, Peter Fellner, Gerhard Mayr (independent Director), Arnoud de Pret and Bridget van Rijckevorsel. For curriculum vitae of the new members, please see UCB's website
The Annual Report 2007 of UCB is published on the internet:
An interim report on the first three months is due on 15 May 2008, the financial results for the first half year 2008 will be announced on 1 August 2008 and an interim report for the first nine months of 2008 is due on 31 October 2008. Next year's AGM will be held on Thursday 30 April 2009 at 11:00am in Brussels (Belgium).
UCB (Brussels, Belgium) (www.ucb-group.com) is a global leader in the biopharmaceutical industry dedicated to the research, development and commercialization of innovative pharmaceutical and biotechnology products in the fields of central nervous system disorders, allergy/respiratory diseases, immune and inflammatory disorders and oncology. UCB focuses on securing a leading position in severe disease categories. Employing around 12 000 people in over 40 countries, UCB achieved revenue of 3.6 billion euro in 2007. UCB S.A. is listed on Euronext Brussels.
Antje Witte, Vice-President Corporate Communications & Investor Relations, UCB Group
T +32.2.559.9414, Antje.firstname.lastname@example.org
Forward looking statement
This press release contains forward-looking statements based on current plans, estimates and beliefs of management. Such statements are subject to risks and uncertainties that may cause actual results to be materially different from those that may be implied by such forward-looking statements contained in this press release. Important factors that could result in such differences include: changes in general economic, business and competitive conditions, effects of future judicial decisions, changes in regulation, exchange rate fluctuations and hiring and retention of its employees.
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