Ozempic maker Novo Nordisk reports a 62% increase in profits.

Novo Nordisk said on Wednesday that fourth-quarter profits rose by nearly two-thirds, boosted by the popularity of its weight-loss drugs that made it Europe’s largest company.

Novo Nordisk NVO,

it said its profits rose 62% to 21.96 billion crowns ($3.19 billion), while sales rose 37% to 65.86 billion crowns. Its operating profit was 5% higher than the consensus compiled by the company, while sales were 4% higher than estimates.

Novo Nordisk shares NOVO.B,
rose 2% in early trading in Copenhagen, and the stock is up 62% over the past 52 weeks.

The growth was driven by what is called the GLP-1 class of drugs, as sales for obesity treatments more than doubled, rising 105%, after diabetes drugs that can be used for weight loss they also saw a 33% increase.

Ozempic, used to treat type 2 diabetes, reported fourth-quarter revenue of 30.07 billion crowns. Wegovy, a prescription drug for weight loss and control, recorded sales of 9.61 billion crowns.

Novo Nordisk and Eli Lilly LLY,
they are expected to dominate the GLP-1 market, which could reach a value of $100 billion per year, in the decades to come. Citi analysts estimate that Novo Nordisk alone could see peak sales of $77 billion for this class of drugs.

Novo Nordisk’s biggest problem continues to be supply. It said in January that it had begun gradually increasing supply of low-dose doses of Wegovy in the United States and that it would gradually roll out Wegovy, in limited volumes, internationally.

Novo Nordisk said it expects 2024 sales growth of between 18% and 26% at constant exchange rates and operating profit growth of between 21% and 29% at constant exchange rates. Currency conversion is expected to slow sales by 1 percentage point and earnings growth by 2%. JPMorgan analysts say forecasts imply Wall Street’s earnings estimates will need to rise as much as 4% this year.

Novo Nordisk said it is starting a new share buyback plan of up to 20 billion crowns and proposed a final dividend of 6.40 crowns per share.

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