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Novartis reports first-half profit up 5 percent

(AP) – Swiss-based Pharmaceutical giant Novartis said Thursday its net profit for the first half of this year rose 5 percent on the same period in 1998.

(AP) – Swiss-based Pharmaceutical giant Novartis said Thursday its net profit for the first half of this year rose 5 percent on the same period in 1998.

It reported earnings of SFr3.73 billion ($2.45 billion), up from SFr3.55 billion (then $2.4 billion) last year. The company credited higher operating income and “good” financial earnings for the net profit rise.

In a statement, the company said it expects profit for the full year “to exceed last year’s levels, barring any unforeseen economic or financial disturbances.”

Higher healthcare and consumer health earnings offset a downturn in its agribusiness division, which faced a difficult market due to “decreasing volumes and a shift in the product mix towards lower-margin products,” Novartis added.

It said the same trends were set to continue for the three divisions.

In March, Novartis announced a net profit for 1998 of SFr6 billion (then $4 billion). Last month, it reported first-half sales up 1 percent to SFr16.3 billion ($10.3 billion).

Novartis became the world’s third biggest pharmaceuticals company when it was created in the 1996 merger of Ciba-Geigy and Sandoz.

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