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LTW, AP

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. – (NYSE: GSK), the world’s second largest drug maker by revenues, posted an 11 percent rise in third quarter net profit on the back of strong sales in emerging markets and its consumer healthcare division.

Wednesday’s showed a net profit of $2.35 billion for the three months to Sept. 30. Revenues, meanwhile, were up 15 percent.

However, sales in the U.S. declined 12 percent largely due to increased competition from generic drugs, GSK reported.

“It is clear that improvements in performance for our US business will take time,” said GSK Chief Executive Officer Andrew Witty in a statement, “however, I do expect that the changes within our product portfolio and the outputs of our restructuring program will become increasingly evident.”

GSK has made some layoffs at its North Carolina operations as part of the cost cutting.

The acquisition of Stiefel Laboratories and its staple of dermatology products is paying off, however. GSK noted that its health products generated more than $160 million in sales.

GSK is moving some Stiefel operations to its lab in RTP from Georgia.

GSK operates its U.S. headquarters in RTP and employs some 4,000 people in the Triangle area.

In the coming months, GSK is expected to receive an earnings windfall from products dashed out in response to the H1N1 flu virus. Witty said that a market consensus forecast that Glaxo will make around $1.6 billion in sales of H1N1 vaccines in the fourth quarter "is pretty accurate."

"In the fourth quarter, I expect further improvement including significant sales generated from our influenza products," Witty told reporters on a conference call immediately after the results were released.

Glaxo has reported orders for 440 million doses of its H1N1 vaccine Pandemrix and Witty said that more orders had been taken since that update, without providing details.

"We continue to have government express an interest and signing contracts with us and we anticipate that will continue for some time to come, although the lion’s share is probably passed," he said.

Witty said that the solid earns over the quarter reflected the company’s success in moving away from reliance on the "white pill western market," to a more diversified business across geographical and product markets.

He noted that overall sales growth of 3 percent in the quarter marked the first sales growth for two years.

The consumer healthcare division posted sales up 8 percent, against estimated global market growth of just 1.5 percent. Sales in emerging markets jumped 25 percent.