“We are very encouraged with the sales growth in the first three months of 2021,” Chief Executive Lars Fruergaard Jorgensen said.
“Sales growth was driven by all therapy areas and across geographical areas.”
Novo Nordisk now expects sales growth in local currencies for 2021 at between 6% and 10%, up from a previous 5% to 9% and operating profit growth in local currencies in the range of 5% to 9%, up from a previous estimate of 4% to 8%.
In Danish crowns, Novo still forecasts sales growth to come in 4% lower than in local currencies and operating profit growth 6% lower than in local currencies.
Reported net sales came in flat in the first quarter at 33.8 billion Danish crowns ($5.46 billion), above a forecast of 32.5 billion in a Refinitiv poll.
Sales were driven by a 13% rise in sales of its GLP-1 products, which imitate an intestinal hormone that stimulates production of insulin, offsetting a 7% overall decline in insulin sales.
Novo reported quarterly operating profit of 14.98 billion Danish crowns, above an average of 14.6 billion expected by analysts.
The company said its ongoing share buyback programme will be expanded to 18 billion Danish crowns.
($1 = 6.1881 Danish crowns)
(Reporting by Nikolaj Skydsgaard; Editing by Richard Pullin)