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CSL’s healthy result

Australia’s largest pharmaceutical company, CSL Limited (ASX: CSL) with a market cap of more than $29 billion, has reported a 24% rise in first-half profits as demand for its blood products soars. Net profit came in at US$627 million, while earnings per share jumped 30% to SU124.7 cents, thanks to the effect of the company’s ongoing share buyback.

Showing that the company is also increasing its margins, and becoming more efficient, sales only rose 7% to US2.5 billion. CSL increased the interim dividend to 50 cents per share, unfranked.

Looking at specific product performance, immunoglobulin sales grew 10% to US912 million, while haemophilia product sales rose to US$542 million. Other human health sales climbed by 19% to US$518 million on the back of increased demand for plasma therapies and influenza sales.

Looking forward, the company expects to report profit growth of around 20% for the full 2013 financial year, barring any unforeseen variables. Earnings per share growth will exceed profit growth again, as the company is still only 21% of the way through a $900 million share buyback.

The company continues to invest in research and development, and has a number of studies underway, which if successful should continue to support high levels of growth.

Foolish takeaway

Australian pharmaceutical and healthcare companies continue to impress globally, including CSL, Cochlear Limited (ASX: COH), Acrux Limited (ASX: ACR) and Mesoblast (ASX: MSB). That shows the strength of our biotechnology industry, although not every company is guaranteed success.

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The Motley Fool’s purpose is to help the world invest, better. Click here now for your free subscription to Take Stock, The Motley Fool’s free investing newsletter. Packed with stock ideas and investing advice, it is essential reading for anyone looking to build and grow their wealth in the years ahead.  This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson. Motley Fool writer/analyst Mike King owns shares in CSL and Cochlear.

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