LONDON, Feb 8 (Reuters) - GlaxoSmithKline sales and profits jumped in the fourth quarter, helped by falling sterling, but the drugmaker cautioned profit growth could be impacted in 2017 by generic competition to its top-selling lung drug Advair.
Outgoing Chief Executive Andrew Witty, presenting his final set of results, said demand for new medicines was increasing and the company's pipeline of experimental medicines provided fuel for further growth.
Quarterly sales rose 21 percent in sterling terms to 7.59 billion pounds ($9.48 billion), generating core earnings per share (EPS) up 45 percent at 26.1 pence, GSK said on Wednesday.
Analysts, on average, had forecast sales of 7.45 billion pounds and core EPS, which excludes certain items, of 25p, Thomson Reuters data shows.
Core earnings per share, in constant currencies, are set to be flat to slightly lower in 2017, if there are substitutable generic copies of Advair in the United States by mid-year, as many analysts expect. If generics don't arrive, core EPS should increase between 5 and 7 percent.
January 2017 average exchange rates, if applied to whole of 2017, would benefit sterling core EPS by around 9 percent, the group added.
$1 = 0.8005 pounds Reporting by Ben Hirschler; editing by Martinne Geller