Emma Walmsley, chief executive officer of Glaxosmithkline Plc.

Luke MacGregor | Bloomberg | Getty Images

GlaxoSmithKline on Wednesday reported quarterly profit that fell short of analysts’ expectations because of pricing pressure, mainly hitting its respiratory drugs, and the drugmaker said adjusted earnings for the year could fall as much as 4 percent.

GSK shares were down 2.6% at 1,767.8 pence as of 1226 GMT.

The company said it has begun its planned split into two companies following the merger of its over-the-counter products into a venture with Pfizer.

Sales rose 11% to 8.90 billion pounds ($11.62 billion) in the three months ended Dec. 31 at constant currency, while adjusted earnings were 24.8 pence per share.

Analysts on average had expected fourth-quarter earnings of 25.8 pence on turnover of 9 billion pounds, according to a company-compiled consensus of 15 analysts.

GSK now expects 2020 adjusted profit to be down 1% to 4% after 2019 adjusted earnings rose 1% to 123.9 pence per share. The forecast did not include any potential impact on its business from the coronavirus outbreak that has killed nearly 500 people in China.

Pharmaceuticals sales in the quarter fell 4 % to 4.56 billion pounds, with HIV sales coming in at 1.26 billion pounds. Vaccines turnover grew 21% to 1.74 billion pounds, primarily driven by growth in sales of Shingrix.

Vaccines and treatments including for HIV will play a larger role in driving GSK’s growth, after its over the counter products unit was folded into a joint venture with Pfizer under Chief Executive Officer Emma Walmsley’s plan to rejuvenate GSK. She has spun off or sold a number of businesses and products.