Shire’s actual 2020 sales could be ‘way north’ of $10bn

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SHIRE’S own deal-making capacity is likely to push the drugmaker’s annual sales “way north” of the $10bn it is currently forecasting for 2020 on the basis of the existing portfolio, its chief executive said.

“M&A will clearly add growth to the profile,” Flemming Ornskov said in an interview, noting that the London-listed company had done six deals since he took over 13 months ago.

Shire has rejected a $46bn takeover approach from AbbVie and is setting out details of a long-term plan to at least double product sales to $10bn in 2020, arguing that this is evidence the US group’s offer undervalues it.

This forecast does not include the impact of future M&A, in-licensing opportunities and pipeline development from the recent Fibrotech and Lumena transactions. “If I included that in the upside it would be way north of $10bn,” Mr Ornskov said.

Shire itself has been a serial acquirer, buying rare disease specialist Viropharma for $4.2bn last November in its biggest deal yet - and Mr Ornskov said he could envisage further “large” deals in future.

The company has long been seen as a takeover target for larger pharmaceutical groups, triggering speculation that AbbVie’s move on the company may prompt other rivals to enter the bidding war.

Mr Ornskov declined to comment on whether there had been approaches from other possible acquirers.