CSL profit boost cheers investors

INVESTORS have applauded CSL's upgraded profit forecast after the blood products and vaccines maker sought to immunise itself against the euro-zone crisis.

INVESTORS have applauded CSL's upgraded profit forecast after the blood products and vaccines maker sought to immunise itself against the euro-zone crisis.

CSL upgraded its full-year profit growth forecast to 13 per cent, or about $1 billion, leading to almost a 3 per cent increase in the company's share price yesterday.

Managing director Brian McNamee said despite a fall in earnings CSL would experience significant growth in the next three years, particularly in emerging markets.

"We are seeing excellent growth in the United States and Europe and I wouldn't want to ignore those markets," Mr McNamee said. "Clearly we see opportunities for further growth."

CSL unveiled a 3.4 per cent slide in net profit to $483.261 million for the half year to December 31, 2011, from $500.2 million in the previous corresponding period.

But Mr McNamee said CSL was confident its full year earnings for 2011-12 would be stronger and upgraded CSL's profit growth forecast from 10 to 13 per cent.

He said the first-half profit result had been affected by exchange rate fluctuations.

After getting its fingers burnt in the Greek debt crisis last year, CSL made an ?11 million ($A13.71 million) first-half provision related to accounts in the troubled southern European economies of Greece, Italy, Spain and Portugal.

Mr McNamee added the Melbourne-based biotech would continue providing its essential medical products to Greece, despite the risk of not getting paid for them.

In August CSL revealed Greece's state-owned hospitals could not afford to pay millions of dollars owed to CSL for the supply of products to treat haemophiliacs and trauma patients, leading it to write off $25 million for 2010-11.

Sales of its essential products in Europe and the US were positive, as were sales in new markets such as China, Russia, the Ukraine and Brazil.

On another front, CSL said it was close to finalising an investigation into why hundreds of Australian children under five had reactions to CSL's seasonal flu vaccine in 2010.

CSL shares were 80?, or 2.6 per cent, higher at $31.75 yesterday afternoon. It declared an unfranked interim dividend of 36? a share, up from 35?.

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