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A fall in profits at Hikma Pharmaceuticals last year was not as bad as feared, with revenues in line with expectations.

Revenues were up 39 per cent on a constant currency basis to $1.95bn, the generic drug specialist said, in line with its guidance of around $2bn. Operating profit fell 9 per cent to $302m, ahead of average forecasts of $281m by analysts polled by Bloomberg.

Basic earnings per share fell 34 per cent to 66.5 pence, also on a constant currency basis.

Revenues for the key generics business were also in line with guidance at $604m. The FTSE 100 pharma giant had last November made cuts to its revenue guidance, reflecting slower than expected approvals of generic drugs, with full year revenues for its generics business expected to be around $600m, from a previous forecast of $640m-$670m.

Currency headwinds were also a factor for Hikma last year, with a devaluation in the currency in Egypt, one of its key markets, having an impact.

The group proposed a full year dividend of 33 cents per share, up from 32 cents per share in 2015. It predicted group revenue in 2017 of around $2.2bn on a constant currency basis.

Said Darwazah, chairman and chief executive officer of Hikma, said:

We made significant strategic progress in 2016. The acquisition of West-Ward Columbus is transforming our generics business and the Group as a whole. This is our largest acquisition to date and the integration process has been both challenging and exciting. We expect the generics business to achieve significant growth in revenue and profitability in the coming years as we focus on pipeline execution and portfolio optimisation.

Hikma shares received a boost along with other pharma companies last month after US president Donald Trump said his administration would reduce barriers to selling new medicines.

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