CSL navigates setbacks




Blood products behemoth CSL (ASX:CSL) has demonstrated resilience in the face of Monday’s setback concerning a potential blockbuster drug trial, showcasing an impressive 11% enhancement in underlying net earnings to $US2.017 billion ($A3.11 billion).

Directors have concurrently exhibited confidence in the company's trajectory by augmenting the interim dividend to $US1.19 per share, a notable increase from $US1.07 in the first half of 2023.

For Australian shareholders, this equates to a dividend payment of approximately $A1.81, affirming CSL's commitment to delivering value.

Reiterating its earlier guidance, CSL remains steadfast in its projection of a full-year net profit ranging between $US2.9 billion to $US3 billion.

In a statement on Tuesday, CEO Paul Dr. McKenzie expressed, "For FY24, I am pleased to reaffirm our previous guidance. CSL’s underlying profit, NPATA, is expected to be in the range of approximately $2.9 billion to $3.0 billion at constant currency, representing growth over FY23 of approximately 13-17%."

Dr. McKenzie articulated CSL's robust position to sustain annualized double-digit earnings growth over the medium term, underscoring the buoyancy of its immunoglobulins franchise amidst robust patient demand.

He remarked, "We have a number of initiatives underway in plasma collections that are improving efficiencies and processing times, supporting continued expansion in CSL Behring’s gross margin."

Additionally, Dr. McKenzie highlighted the promising trajectory of HEMGENIX®, CSL's transformative gene therapy product for haemophilia B patients, which has garnered significant interest among both patients and healthcare professionals.

Despite acknowledging the seasonal challenges faced by CSL Seqirus, particularly amidst a demanding vaccine market, Dr. McKenzie underscored the company's resilience. He acknowledged the anticipated loss in the second half of the fiscal year while emphasizing the organization's strategic positioning for future growth.

Regarding CSL Vifor's operations within the evolving iron market, Dr. McKenzie emphasized the company's strategic preparedness to navigate challenges and unlock value through leveraging synergies across the CSL group.

The market response to CSL's robust financial performance will be closely monitored on Tuesday, following Monday's $A7 billion sell-off prompted by disappointing news concerning a highly anticipated heart drug candidate.

CSL disclosed on Monday that its CSL112 drug, designed to mitigate the risk of major adverse heart events for patients who have suffered from a heart attack, did not meet its efficacy endpoints after 90 days.

While CSL noted no significant safety or tolerability concerns with CSL112, it indicated a lack of immediate plans for a regulatory filing, essential for broader product approval and distribution.

Despite this setback, CSL's strong financial performance and strategic outlook underscore its resilience and commitment to long-term growth and value creation for stakeholders.


Name Glenn Dyer

Glenn Dyer has been a finance journalist and TV producer for more than 40 years. He has worked at Maxwell Newton Publications, Queensland Newspapers, AAP, The Australian Financial Review, The Nine Network and Crikey.